Memphis Grizzlies (38-25) at Boston Celtics (38-26)
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
7:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #65, Home Game #33
TV: ESPN, CSNNE, TSN2
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, WMFS
Referees: Rodney Mott, Mark Lindsay, Haywoode Workman
The Celtics host the Memphis Grizzlies for their second and final meeting this season. These two teams met on January 10th in Memphis with the Grizzlies coming out a 101-98 winner. The Celtics have been off since Saturday and should be well rested but hopefully not rusty. The Grizzlies played in Cleveland on Monday and came away with a win over the Cavaliers.
Both teams are 7-3 in their last 10 games. The Celtics are 22-10 at home and going for their 14th straight win at home. The Grizzlies are 15-15 on the road and are looking for their 2nd straight road win. The Celtics are looking to bounce back from a loss to the Cavaliers while the Grizzlies are coming off a win over the Cavaliers.
The Celtics maintain a precarious hold on the 3rd spot in the East. Miami has moved to within 1/2 game of the Celtics by virtue of 2 games against the league worst 76ers and a third game against the 3rd worst Phoenix Suns and the Celtics loss to the Cavaliers. The Celtics remain 2.5 games ahead of Atlanta in the 5th spot. Memphis is 5th in the West.
The Grizzlies are battling injuries and are playing shorthanded. The Celtics can't take them for granted though, no matter how short handed they are since they played just 8 players against the healthy Cavs and beat them. The Grizzlies have 4 players definitely out and 4 more who are doubtful or game time decisions. They could get a boost from the return of Zach Randolph, who has been updated to probable.
For the Celtics, Kelly Olynyk practiced on Monday and Tuesday and is getting close to returning but is listed as a game time decision. Jared Sullinger is also a game time decision after being hospitalized with a skin infection and missing practice on Monday and Tuesday. If Sully can't play, Tyler Zeller is expected to start. The lineup listed for the Grizzlies is the same one with which they beat the Cavaliers. The Celtics shouldn't make the same mistake the Cavs did and underestimate them because of the shorthanded lineup.
The Celtics have signed Coty Clarke to a 10 day contract. He played with the Celtics in training camp and has been playing with the Red Claws this season so he should know the Celtics game plan already. The Grizzlies are reportedly signing Briante Weber who played with the Heat in the preseason and has also been playing in the D-League this season.
Probable Starting Matchups
Isaiah Thomas vs Mario Chalmers
Avery Bradley vs Tony Allen
Jae Crowder vs PJ Hairston
Amir Johnson vs JaMychal Green
Jared Sullinger vs Ryan Hollins
Kelly Olynyk (shoulder) game time decision
Jared Sullinger (illness) game time decision
Jordan Adams (knee) out
Mike Conley (foot) doubtful
Jarell Martin (foot) out
Brandon Wright (knee) out
Chris Andersen (shoulder) doubtful
Marc Gasol (foot) out
Zach Randolph (knee) game time decision
Matt Barnes (hamstring) game time decision
Amir Johnson vs JaMychal Green
Green is averaging 14.8 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. He scored 16 points and pulled down 10 rebounds against the Cavs on Monday. He is capable of playing very well and so Amir needs to play him tough. Zach Randolph has been upgraded to probable but it isn't clear if he will start or come off the bench. Either way, he will make a difference for them.
Isaiah Thomas vs Mario Chalmers
Chalmers is filling in for the injured Mike Conley, who is a game time decision. Chalmers is averaging 10.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists for the season but put up 17 points and 7 assists against the Cavs on Monday.
Avery Bradley vs Tony Allen
Tony is averaging 7.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1 assist per game. He has a way of coming up big against the Celtics, however and had 15 points and 10 rebounds against the Celtics in January. He also is coming off a 26 point 5 steal game against the Cavs.
Evan Turner vs Lance Stephenson
Stephenson was traded to the Grizzlies at the trade deadline and is already making a difference for them off the bench. He scored 17 points off the bench against the Cavaliers on Monday. Evan needs to play well in this game to keep Stephenson from coming up big for the Grizzlies.
Keys to the Game
Defense - Defense is always key to getting a win. The Celtics must play tough defense against the Grizzlies, who are holding teams to 99.2 points per game. The Celtics let their defense slip somewhat around the All Star break but hopefully are back to making it a priority. They are allowing 102.0 points per game. The Celtics must limit the the Grizzlies scoring.
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. The Celtics play best when they are running and getting easy shots before the defense can set up.
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. They have to stay focused and play hard the entire game.
Rebound - 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. In the first meeting between these two teams, the Celtics were out-rebounded 58-39 and they allowed the Grizzlies to get 21 offensive rebounds. The Grizzlies won't have Gasol this time and may not have Randolph, but the Celtics still have to be aggressive in going after the rebounds.
Stay Focused - The Celtics allowed the referees to take their focus out of the the game. They have to be able to stay focused on their game and not let the officiating or the other team get into their heads. The Celtics also can't let the Grizzlies' injuries affect their play. They have to stay focused and not let up because the Grizzlies are less than 100%.
The Celtics are playing very well at home and are going for their 14th straight home win. They have to keep their focus on getting the win and let the home crowd give them a boost.
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. In the first game against the Grizzlies, the officiating was tilted toward Memphis with 40 free throws for them and 23 for the Celtics. The officiating was definitely a factor in the loss to the Cavs. They have to adjust to the way the game is being called and not let it affect them.
Rodney Mott has officiated 978 regular season games and 14 playoff games during his 17-season NBA career Prior to joining the NBA officiating staff, Mott spent four years officiating in the CBA, eight years officiating in the Los Angeles Pro Am basketball league, three years officiating at the junior college level, and four years officiating high school in San Diego. In 2007, Mott was suspended without pay for 3 games for making an obscene gesture and inappropriate comment toward a fan. Mott challenged the charges and said that they used him as a scapegoat to take attention away from other issues, but the suspension stood.
The Celtics have had mixed results with Mott as an official. Like many refs, he can be good or bad depending on the night. It was Rodney Mott that Rondo was joking with and accidentally bumped in a game vs the Hawks. Even though Mott didn't show any reaction at the time and backed up Rondo's story that he was indeed joking with him at the time, Rondo was suspended for the incident. Mott hasn't been particularly good or bad in recent games with the Celtics other than the recent loss to the Knicks where they called several ticky tack fouls on the Celtics letting free throws decide the game down the stretch. The Celtics are 2-2 this season and 2-8 in their last 10 games with Mott. The Grizzlies are 5-1 this season and 8-2 in their last 10 with Mott. He is a homer ref with a home W/L record this season of 33-16.
Mark Lindsay has officiated 479 regular season games and one playoff game in his eight NBA seasons. Prior to working in the NBA, he worked for five seasons in the NBA Development League, officiating 116 games, including playoff games in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Lindsay received a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education and graduated with honors from West Chester University where he was a three year letterman on the Men’s Varsity Basketball team. He later worked as a teacher and a real estate sales agent and officiated in several college conferences, including the ACC, Colonial Athletic Association, Atlantic Sun, Big South and Ohio Valley Conferences before joining the NBA.
The Celtics are 3-0 this season and 4-6 in their last 10 games with Lindsay making the calls. One win last season was a 101-95 win over Chicago where the Bulls shot 31 free throws to 16 for the Celtics and there were more than a few questionable calls. But then, he called a game vs the Mavs where the Celtics shot 30 free throws to 17 for the Mavs and the Celtics got the benefit of some questionable calls. In a game last season vs the Cavs the officiating was terrible, with bad calls going both ways. Tommy had this to say about it: "I don't remember when there was such a plethora of terrible calls throughout." Lindsay also called the game vs the Bulls with Jason Phillips where the Celtics took 11 free throws to 40 for the Bulls and where Tommy described it as an abomination and not even close to a decently officiated game.
Lindsay also called the Lakers game, where calls were going against the Celtics throughout the game. Isaiah Thomas was ejected on a bogus call and that technical was later rescinded. Smart and Zeller fouled out and the Lakers shot 38 free throws to 27 for the Celtics. One comment from the Lakers board says it all: "The refs are screwing our tank." He can be good and he can be bad depending on the night. The Grizzlies are 2-0 this season and 7-3 in in their last 10 with Lindsay. His home W/L record this season is 29-18.
Haywoode Workman has officiated 378 regular season games in his first seven NBA seasons. A second round draft pick by the Atlanta Hawks in 1989, he played professionally for eight seasons in the NBA and overseas betweeen 1989 to 2000.
Workman spent four seasons officiating in the NBA Development League and also officiated in the CBA before joining the NBA. Workman joins Bernie Fryer and Leon Wood on the short list of NBA players who have made the transition to officiating.
Workman was an All-State quarterback in North Carolina in 1983 and played in the NC/SC Shrine Bowl. He played one year of football and basketball for the all time winnigest HBCU coach, the late Clearence "Big House" Gaines, at Winston-Salem State University. He was inducted into the Oral Roberts University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003.
The Celtics are 0-1 this season and 4-6 over the last 10 games with Workman. There hasn't been a lot of controversy over his officiating. Unlike some of the NBA officials, he keeps a fairly low profile. He has not been noticeable one way or the other in most of his games with the Celtics. The Grizzlies are 0-3 this season and 6-4 in their last 10 with Workman. His home W/L record is 24-19 this season.