The last time Isaiah Thomas played the Grizzlies, he dropped a career high 44 points. He didn’t quite match that, but he still kept up his “Eastern Conference Player of the Week” form. He extended his 20-points-in-a-game streak to 16, the longest in the NBA this season. He wasn’t alone though, as Avery Bradley (23 points) and Gerald Green (19) posted some nice scoring numbers as well.
The Grizzlies came into this game 8-0 in the second game of a back-to-back. They were without Mike Conley and Chandler Parsons, leaving them in need of scoring. Marc Gasol was ready to go though. Gasol was firing away from all over the court. Horford was in pretty good position defensively, but Gasol couldn’t miss. He finished with 12 in the quarter.
Boston survived Gasol’s hot shooting thanks to the well-balanced output of the starting lineup. Bradley led the way with 9 points, but Isaiah was close behind him with 6 points.
Boston held Gasol in check during the second quarter. They started doubling him a bit. The best defense however was tricking him into traveling. This goes for the entire team too, as the Grizzlies scored 0 points when the referees penalized them for traveling.
Gerald Green was back in the mix, and he made the most of his minutes. He dropped 10 points during the second quarter alone, and took some incredible heat check shots.
Isaiah Thomas didn’t make too many baskets in the first half. But each one seemed more difficult than the last. His spectacular three-point play in the second quarter put the Celtics ahead by 12 points.
Amir Johnson was doing the all dirty work inside. He was grabbing offensive boards and even drawing a few fouls. He played a huge role in the Celtics outrebounding the Grizzlies in the first half. Boston took an 8-point lead into halftime.
“Grit ‘n’ Grind” is the Memphis motto, and they stuck to it tonight. They came out attacking in the second half. Tony Allen was scoring inside and making hustle plays. Gasol, evidently tired of scoring, started racking up assists. Boston lost control of the game and allowed the Grizzlies cut the lead down to one possession.
Despite the struggles, the Celtics still maintained the lead. Avery Bradley killed with Grizzlies with his cutting ability on offense. Bradley scored 10 points in the quarter, and most of them came from slipping behind the Memphis defense. Smart deserves some credit too. His shooting wasn’t great, but he kept making plays to keep the Celtics ahead. Whether it was fighting for loose balls or throwing “the best passer on the Celtics”-type passes, Smart was huge in the third.
It was the Zach Randolph show in the fourth quarter. Unburdened by the refs, he bullied his way to some quick points the start the quarter. Johnson and Olynyk were both put into foul trouble, which prompted a Tyler Zeller appearance.
Gerald Green kept adding to his impressive performance with some clutch 4th quarter buckets as well.
The Celtics turned to their small ball lineup in crunch time, and they closed the game out. They were at a size disadvantage, but used some good team rebounding to compensate. IT and Amir subbed offense for defense during the final minute, which helped out too. A Marcus Smart steal sealed the win, giving the Celtics 6 wins in 7 games.