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Celtics hoping a visit to the struggling Grizzlies will cure what ails them

The Celtics look to bounce back as they visit the struggling Memphis Grizzlies.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics head out on the road after 2 home games to face the Memphis Grizzlies in the first of two games this season. They will meet again on February 26 in Boston. The Celtics won both games between these two teams last season.

Both teams are playing on the second night of back to back games. The Grizzlies faced the Hawks at home while the Celtics faced the Jazz at home. Memphis will have an advantage in that the Celtics had to travel after their game but the Grizzlies remain at home.

The Celtics are 11-4 on the road while the Grizzlies are 6-11 at home. The Grizzlies have lost 15 of their last 16 games and are 1-9 in their last 10 games. The Celtics have lost 3 of their last 5 games and are 9-2 vs the West while the Grizzlies are 1-10 against Eastern Conference teams. The Celtics are coming off a loss to the Jazz while the Grizzlies are coming off a win over the Hawks.

Marcus Morris (knee) and Gordon Hayward (ankle) are out for the Celtics. Daniel Theis left the game on Friday with a broken nose after getting hit in the face. He did not return to that game but he traveled with the team to Memphis and is listed as day to day. Mike Conley (Achilles), Wayne Selden (quad) and Brandan Wright (groin) are out for the Grizzlies.

Chandler Parsons is out for rest while Tyreke Evans (hip) is a game time decision. Predicting the Grizzlies' starting lineup is tough. Chandler Parsons usually starts at small forward but is out for rest and my guess is that Tyreke Evans would start in his place. However, Evans is a game time decision and if he doesn't start I have no idea, possibly James Ennis III.

Probable Celtics Starters

Celtics Reserves
Shane Larkin
Abdel Nader
Semi Ojeleye
Guerschon Yabusele
Terry Rozier
Marcus Smart

Marcus Morris (knee) questionable
Gordon Hayward (ankle) out
Daniel Theis (broken nose) day to day

Two Way Players
Kadeem Allen
Jabari Bird

Head Coach
Brad Stevens

Probable Grizzlies Starters

Grizzlies Reserves
Mario Chalmers
Deyonta Davis
James Ennis III
Jarell Martin
Ben McLemore
Ivan Rabb

Mike Conley (Achilles) out
Wayne Selden Jr (quad) out
Brandon Wright (groin) out
Chandler Parsons (rest) out Tyreke Evans (hip) game time decision

Two Way Players
Vince Hunter
Kobi Simmons

Head Coach
J.B. Bickerstaff

Key Matchups

Aron Baynes vs Marc Gasol
Gasol is averaging 18.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 4.0 assists. With Conley out, Gasol is the Grizzlies' best player. He is tough to cover and Baynes will need to stay with him to keep him from having a big game.

Jayson Tatum vs Tyreke Evans
Evans is usually the Grizzlies' 6th man but with Chandler out for rest, Evans may move into the starting lineup, if he is playing, that is. He is a game time decision with a hip injury. He is averaging 18.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. Evans is playing better than anyone not named Gasol.

Honorable Mention
Al Horford vs JaMychal Green
Green is averaging 10.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists. Al needs to be aggressive on both ends of the court to make Green work on defense and then to have to work for everything he gets on the offensive end.

Keys to the Game
Defense - Defense is always key to getting a win. The Celtics have been letting their defense slip somewhat recently and they need to get back to the tough team defense they played to start the season. They still have the top defense because of their stingy defense to start the season. However, over the last 10 games they have a defensive rating of 108. They must make defense a priority and get back to that swarming defense they played to start the season.

Play 48 Minutes - 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 had a tendency to get a lead and then let up or to start off slowly and dig a hole they have to climb out of. The Celtics have to play hard from the opening tip to the final buzzer.

Rebound - Rebounding takes effort and desire and the Celtics will need both to get back to outrebounding their opponents. The Celtics were out rebounded 48-30 against the Nuggetsand 55-31 against the Jazz. Those numbers indicate that the Celtics are getting outworked. The Celtics have to put more effort into crashing the boards because they can't score if they don't have the ball.

Be Aggressive - The Celtics need to play hard and be the more aggressive team. They have to go after rebounds, loose balls, and 50/50 balls. They have to be aggressive on defense and in getting to the basket. They have to be the team that works harder and wants it more. The Celtics lacked energy and effort against the Jazz. They made outplaying the opposition their trademark at the start of the season. The Celtics must get back to that mindset and play like the team that wants it more.

Take Care of the Ball - The Celtics have to take care of the ball, make smart passes, and limit their turnovers. The Grizzlies average 16.7 points off of turnovers and the Celtics don't want to give them extra points by getting careless with the ball.

On the Road and Fatigue - Both teams are playing on the second night of back to back games. The Celtics are playing in the 3rd game in 4 nights and the 6th game in 9 nights. The Celtics looked tired against the Jazz with many of their shots short and they just didn't play hard, allowing the shorthanded Jazz to outwork them for the most part. They have to dig deep and play with energy and they have to block out the distractions of playing on the road and focus on getting a win in this game.

Bench Play - The Grizzlies bench has out-scored their opponents' benches 1107-807 this season. Their bench is averaging 39.5 points per game, which is good for 7th in the league. They have gotten 50+ points from their reserves 6 times this season. The Celtics have a very young bench that often struggles on offense. If the Celtics second unit can't keep up with the Grizzlies' second unit, then it might be a long night for them.

Who Steps Up? - With Marcus Morris out and now Daniel Theis possibly out, the bench is getting thinner. But, the starters have to step up as well as the reserves. Only two players, Kyrie and Al, were in double figures against the Jazz. It's tough to win when only 2 players are scoring. Who is going to step up