Boston Celtics (4-6) at Grizzlies (10-2)
Friday, November 21, 2014
8:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #11, Road Game #5
TV: CSNNE, SportSouth, NBA-LP 757 (DTV),755 (Xfinity)
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, WMFS
Fed Ex Forum
Referees: Zach Zarba, Marat Kogut, Eric Lewis
The Celtics complete their two game road trip with a game against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies have been hit hard with a stomach virus. Wednesday vs Toronto, they dressed only 10 players with Courtney Lee, Tony Allen, Beno Udrih, Jon Leuer, and Kosta Koufos all spending time in the hospital for dehydration and then were sent home on a charter flight. All five are listed as questionable for this game along with Jarnell Stokes also being listed as questionable.
On Wednesday, in a loss to the Raptors, the Grizzlies started Quincy Pondexter at shooting guard instead of Courtney Lee and Tayshaun Prince at small forward in place of Tony Allen. Lee and Allen are both listed as questionable for this game but if they can play, I'm sure they would both love to face their former team.
The Grizzlies have the best record in the league but they have played much better against Western teams than Eastern teams. They are 7-0 against the West and are averaging 104.0 points in those games. In 5 games against the East, they are 2-2 and are averaging just 89.4 points per game.
The Grizzlies are 6-0 at home while the Celtics are 2-2 on the road. The Celtics are looking for their first back to back wins of the season. The Grizzlies swept the season series from the Celtics the past two years. Brad Stevens has hinted at some lineup changes so don't be surprised if he changes things around for this game. It's possible he may start Zeller for defensive purposes on Gasol. I'll consider it a win if the Celtics escape Memphis without catching the stomach virus that has decimated the Grizzlies this week.
Probable Starting Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Mike Conley
Avery Bradley vs Courtney Lee
Jeff Green vs Tayshaun Prince
Jared Sullinger vs Zach Randolph
Kelly Olynyk vs Marc Gasol
Vitor Faverani (knee) out
Marcus Smart (ankle) out
Tony Allen (Stomach virus) questionable
Courtney Lee (stomach virus) probable
Jon Leuer (stomach virus) questionable
Jarnell Stokes (stomach virus) questionable
Kosta Koufos (stomach virus) questionable
Beno Udrih (stomach virus) questionable
Nick Calathes (suspended) out
Jared Sullinger vs Zach Randolph
So far the Grizzlies' starting front court are still healthy and they are also very tough. Zach Randolph is averaging 16.6 points, 11.8 rebounds and 0.1 blocks per game and will be a tough matchup for Sully.
Kelly Olynyk vs Marc Gasol
The other half of the Grizzlies starting front court is averaging 18.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. Stopping both Randolph and Gasol will be key for the Celtics. As I said above, I wouldn't be surprised to see Tyler Zeller matched up against Gasol in the starting lineup.
Keys to the Game
Defense - Defense is always key to getting a win. The Celtics must defend especially in the paint where the Grizzlies can be very dangerous.
Set the Pace - With half the Grizzlies suffering from a stomach virus, if the Celtics can run and keep the pace of the game up throughout the game and not slow down, they could wear them down.
Play 48 Minutes - This follows setting the pace. The Celtics can't just run half the game. They have to run for the entire game. They also can't let up down the stretch and have to focus especially at the end of the game.
Rebound - Crashing the boards won't be all that easy with Randolph and Gasol crowding the paint. But the Celtics must put out extra effort to grab as many rebounds as they can because they have to get the ball in order to score and they must keep the Grizzlies from scoring easy second chance points.
Road Game and Underestimating
The Celtics are on the road and winning on the road is usually more difficult for young teams. They will need to bring some extra focus in order to pull this one out. With half the Grizzlies suffering from a stomach virus, this may be the best time to catch them but the Celtics can't underestimate them because they still have plenty of talent on the team even with all of the illness
Marat Kogut - Marat Kogut enters his sixth year as an NBA Referee having officiated 261 games. Kogut immigrated to the United States with his family seven days after he was born. Raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., he started officiating at the age of 16 at local recreational youth leagues. His professional experience includes three years in the WNBA, as well as 4 years in the NBA D-League, where he officiated over 180 games, including the Finals in his last two seasons and the 2009 D-League All-Star Game in Phoenix. Prior to joining the NBA officiating staff, Kogut worked in several Men’s NCAA mid-major Division I conferences, including the Ohio Valley, Atlantic Sun, and Big South Conferences, as well as in New York metro area high school basketball for four years. Kogut has called games that favored the Celtics and some where the Celtics couldn't get a call and some others where they were called evenly. I guess it depends on his mood. The Celtics are 0-1 this season and 3-7 in their last 10 games with Kogut. He called the loss to the Cavs earlier this season where the game was called evenly through 3 quarters and then completely one sided for the Cavs in the 4th quarter. He ignored a push off and elbow below the belt by LeBron on Green and instead called the foul on Jeff Green. Cleveland shot 37 free throws to 23 for the Celtics. The Grizzlies are 7-3 in their last 10 games with Kogut. His home W/L record is 3-4.
Eric Lewis - Lewis has spent the last 10 seasons in the NBA, officiating 618 regular season games and 14 playoff games. Lewis spent two years working in the USBL, officiating the Finals in 2002 and 2004. Prior to that he spent three seasons in the NBA D-League, where he worked the 2003 and 2004 Playoffs and 2004 Finals. He tallied eight years in the college ranks, participating in the Atlantic Sun, Ohio Valley, Sunshine State, Florida Sun and Mid-Florida conferences. Lewis officiated in Florida high schools for six years. With the exception of a Cavs game that was called pretty much one sided, Lewis has been pretty good in calling the Celtics games. Both teams are 5-5 in their last 10 games with Lewis. His home W/L record is 4-5.