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Celtics continue road trip in Memphis to take on the Grizzlies

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The Celtics continue their 3 game road trip with a stop in Memphis to take on the Grizzlies.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
at
Boston Celtics (19-17) at Grizzlies (20-18)
Sunday, January 10, 2016
6:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #37, Road Game #18
TV: CSNNE, FSSE, NBA-LP 756 (DTV),758 (Xfinity)
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, WMFS
Fed Ex Forum
Referees: Ed Malloy, Eric Lewis, JT Orr

The Celtics continue their 3 game road trip with a stop in Memphis to take on the Grizzlies. Both of these teams have been in an offensive slump. The Celtics have lost 4 of their last 5 games. The Grizzlies have been a bit more successful in spite of their offensive struggles. They have won their last 5 at home and have won 4 of their last 6 overall.

The Grizzlies have been pretty good at protecting their home court with a 12-6 record. The Celtics have played better on the road than they have at home for the most part with a 10-7 record away from the Garden. They split the series last season 1-1 with each team winning on their home court. The Celtics won the last game in March of last season but lost the previous 5 games with Memphis.

The Celtics briefly dropped out of the top 8 in the East but now are back in the 8th spot, tied record wise with Orlando, who lost to the Wizards on Saturday. They are now 1.5 games behind Detroit, who are 7th and beat the Nets on Saturday. The Celtics have lost 2 in a row and are now 7 games behind the first place Cavaliers.

The Grizzlies have been struggling with injuries in recent games. Mike Conley and Courtney Lee are both listed as doubtful and will be a game time decision. Jordan Adams, Jarell Martin and Brandon Wright are all listed as out. If Conley and Lee are out that leaves the Grizzlies with just 5 players on their bench.

Avery Bradley, who missed the last 3 games, is expected to return to the lineup for this game. Brad Stevens, who missed the last game, is also expected to return to the sidelines for this game. I'm going to guess that Avery will be back in the starting lineup if he does return. I also wouldn't be surprised to see Marcus Smart return to the starting line up with him.

Probable Starting Matchups
Point Guard
vs
Isaiah Thomas vs Mario Chalmers

Shooting Guard

vs
Avery Bradley vs Tony Allen

Small Forward
vs
Jae Crowder vs Matt Barnes

Power Forward
vs
Amir Johnson vs Jeff Green

Center
vs
Kelly Olynyk vs Marc Gasol

Reserves
Marcus Smart
Jonas Jerebko
Terry Rozier
James Young
Jared Sullinger
Jordan Mickey
Tyler Zeller
David Lee
Evan Turner
RJ Hunter

Injuries
Avery Bradley (hip) probable

Head Coach
Brad Stevens

Reserves
Vince Carter
James Ennis
JaMychal Green
Zach Randolph
Elliot Williams

Injuries

Jordan Adams (knee) out
Mike Conley (Achilles) doubtful
Courtney Lee (foot) doubtful
Jarell Martin (foot) out
Brandon Wright (knee) out

Head Coach
David Joerger

Key Matchups
vs
Amir Johnson vs Jeff Green
The Grizzlies have moved Jeff Green to power forward and bring Zach Randolph off the bench. How well we know that Green can have a monster game one night and then disappear for the next 4 nights. It seems that every player likes to get back at their former teams and so Amir needs to keep Green from having a big game.

vs
Kelly Olynyk vs Marc Gasol
Gasol is averaging 15.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. He is capable of having a big game if the Celtics don't stay with him. Kelly needs to keep him away from the basket as he will dominate inside if they don't keep him out of the paint.

Honorable Mention
Jared Sullinger vs Zach Randolph
Randolph is averaging 14.0 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. In the Grizzlies win over Denver on Friday, Randolph had 24 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks off the bench. He is definitely a dangerous player and Sully needs to keep him out of the paint.

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. Since the start of last season, the Grizzlies are 45-4 when they reach 100 points. The Celtics must make defense a priority against the Grizzlies, who are holding teams to 93.4 points in their last 13 games.

Set the Pace - With the Grizzlies likely to be short handed, the Celtics need to use their depth and run on every possession and keep the pace of the game up throughout the game. They should be able to wear them down by the end of the game.

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. The Celtics have been playing well in the first half but then seem to lose focus in the second half. They have to stay focused and play hard the entire 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. The Grizzlies are 14-3 when scoring at least 12 second chance points and the Celtics have to keep them off the boards to stop tip ins and second chance baskets.

Don't Shoot Bricks - The Celtics, as a team, have been in a shooting slump. Their outside shots have not been falling. They have to take the ball inside if they continue to struggle with their outside shots. From 11/30 -12/21, the Celtics were the 3rd best 3 point shooting team in the East at 38.2%. In the 8 games since that stretch, the Celtics have dropped to just 24.4% from beyond the arc. Against Chicago, they shot 20%, against Detroit, they shot 21% and against the Nets, they shot a pitiful 16.7% on 3 pointers. It wouldn't be quite as bad if they weren't taking so many of them. They need to get to the basket if they continue to struggle from long distance.

X-Factors
Offense

Both teams have been struggling with their offense and if one or both of the teams can get back on track and start hitting shots, it would go a long way toward getting a win. Can the Celtics finally start hitting their shots? And if the shots aren't falling, will they go to the basket or just continue to shoot bricks from outside?

Officiating

Officiating is always an x-factor. At times they call the game even and let them play. Other times they call the game one sided or call every little touch foul and that takes all of the flow out of the game. Every crew has it's own identity and that can change the flow and outcome of the game. The Celtics play best when the refs allow them to play and call the game fairly. They have to adjust to the way the game is being called.

Official Report
Ed Malloy

Malloy has officiated 830 regular season NBA games, 54 playoff games and four NBA Finals games, over the past 13 seasons. Prior to joining the NBA, Malloy officiated for one season in the NBA D-League, three seasons in the CBA and three seasons in the WNBA. He worked the 2002 NBA D-League Finals and the 2001 CBA Finals.

Malloy is very quick to call technicals and in the past has ejected Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett for 2 quick techicals, all 3 of which had one or both rescinded by the league afterwards. He has called games in the past that were lopsided against the Celtics as well as some that were lopsided in favor of the Celtics so you never know which Malloy will show up. In one game against the Pacers last season he made several terrible calls down the stretch including an out of bounds call that was obviously wrong and gave the game to Indiana. The Pacers shot 34 free throws to 16 for the Celtics.

Malloy called the game at Houston this season and were good. Mike mentioned that you didn't notice the refs and that's the best compliment that he could give them. They also called the Wizards game and again they let them play and didn't interfere with the game. The Celtics are 2-0 this season and 3-7 in their last 10 games with Malloy while the Grizzlies are 2-1 this seaqson and 7-3 in their last 10. His home W/L record is 21-11.

Eric Lewis
Lewis has spent the last 12 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, and the Hawks game last season that was also called one sided toward the Hawks down the stretch, Lewis has been pretty good in calling the Celtics games. In a game against the Pistons last season, the officiating was one sided toward the Pistons, who shot 43 free throws to just 24 for the Celtics. The Celtics are 1-0 this season and 4-6 over their last 10 games with Lewis. The Grizzlies are 1-1 this season and 7-3 over their last 10. Lewis calls an average of 42.3 fouls per game with 50.3% called on the road team. His home W/L record is 13-14.

JT Orr

J.T. Orr enters his fifth NBA season having officiated 162 regular season games. Orr’s experience includes five seasons and 177 games officiated in the NBA D-League. He also has four seasons of NBA preseason experience and has worked in NBA summer camps for nine years. In addition to his professional experience, Orr officiated collegiate games for 13 years, working the NCAA tournament in 2011 and including service for the PAC 10/12, West Coast and Big West Conferences and multiple small college conferences. He also has 15 years of high school officiating experience.

The Celtics are 1-0 this season and 6-4 over their last 10 games with Orr as a ref. As with most refs, he can be good or bad. He has called a few one sided games where the Celtics can't get a call and others where the officiating is even. He hasn't been particularly bad in any of his games with the Celtics, however. The Grizzlies are 2-1 this season and 7-3 in their last 10 games with Orr. His home W/L record this season is 11-14.