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Celtics lose lead to Grizzlies

After building a considerable lead through the first half, the Boston Celtics were unable to hold on as the Memphis Grizzlies came back to win, 101-98.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Unfortunately, the slump continues.

The Boston Celtics again find themselves on the wrong end of a valiant comeback victory, this time at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies.  Unlucky calls, poor defensive rebounding, and sloppy turnovers doomed the C's tonight as their slump continues.

The first quarter saw Boston playing with fire and concentration.  Crowder had two early steals, and Isaiah Thomas experienced a return to form.  The little man out of Washington has not been shooting well recently, but saw a resurgence in efficiency tonight, as he notched 13 points in the first quarter, on his way to an impressive 35 points on just 19 shots.  The Celtics finished the first quarter up, 34-16.

It would not last.

While Memphis was unable to trim the lead too much in the second quarter, they came out with guns blazing in the second half.  They played with the fire and intensity that Boston had played with in the first quarter, and it showed in their effort.  They spent the second half forcing turnovers off of sloppy passes, and grabbing unholy amounts of offensive rebounds.

Over the course of the contest, the Grizzlies pulled down 21 offensive rebounds.  I'll repeat that, 21 offensive rebounds.  Fourteen of those were in the second half.

All told, Memphis won the rebounding battle 58-39, which is an almost comical margin.  Admittedly, the Grizzlies have a very strong and capable frontcourt, with aggressive rebounders on the wings.  However, Boston does not do very well when it is unable to both create turnovers and compete on the boards.

The Grizzlies chipped away at the lead until they eventually captured it in the latter stages of the fourth quarter.  Despite some attempted heroics from Thomas and Avery Bradley late in the game, Boston was unable to close the gap.

Quick Notes

  • Marcus Smart did not have a particularly good shooting night, but his defense was on full display.  The sophomore guard had 5 steals in the contest.  For the record, his rebounding (6 total, 4 offensive) wasn't half bad either.
  • David Lee received some serious minutes tonight, notching over fifteen minutes of game time.  Unfortunately, he was unable to make much of that time.  The veteran big man was minus-12, and shot just 2-12 for the night.  He had some nice defensive plays, but had a lot of trouble finishing over the Grizzlies big front line.
  • I need to reiterate how good of a night IT had.  He really bolstered his all-star candidacy, with a final line of 35 points, 8 assists, and 3 rebounds.
The Celtics will look to pull themselves out of this slump on Tuesday, when the travel to Madison Square Garden to take on the Knicks.  Memphis returns to action against the Rockets on Tuesday.

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