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Memphis Grizzlies (18-31) at Boston Celtics (37-12)

The Celtics welcome back Marcus Smart to Boston.

NBA: Playoffs-Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics are back in action this evening to take on the Memphis Grizzlies. This is the second meeting of the two teams with Boston edging the first meeting 102-100 back in November.

Kristaps Porzingis led Boston with 26 points in a game that went down to the final moments. Desmond Bane was the game’s leading scorer with 30 points.

Luckily for Boston, the Grizzlies are in the middle of an injury crisis with eight players listed as out which includes the likes of Jaren Jackson Jr., Desmond Bane, Ja Morant, Brandon Clarke, and Marcus Smart among others.

This game was marked on many fans’ calendars as Marcus Smart was due to make his return to TD Garden. Unfortunately, Smart will not play due to injury. However, he will be on the bench and be honored as a Hero Among Us.

On the court, the Celtics will look to bounce back from Thursday’s loss to the Lakers. Normally, with an injury list as long as Memphis, it would give fans optimism. However, after the Celtics dropped the game against Los Angeles, without LeBron James and Anthony Davis, fans may be on edge.

On Boston’s injury report, only Jaylen Brown (low back tightness) is listed as questionable with Luke Kornet (left hamstring strain) probable.

Keys to the game:

Start strong: To ease everyone’s nerves, the Celtics need to come out strong and show why they are one of the best teams in the league. Boston cannot get out to a slow start like they did against the Lakers and the Pelicans.

Memphis lost four in a row and the Celtics need to start winning these types of games.

Rebound: The Celtics need to win the rebounding battle. With Jaren Jackson Jr., out the Celtics will have a significant size advantage and need to utilize it on the defensive and offensive glass.

If Boston can dominate the glass, Boston gives itself a great shot at winning this game comfortably.

Feed the hot hand: It’s no secret that Boston has scorers all over the court. However, there are times when a certain player has the hot hand, the team will go away from them. Against the Clippers it was Tatum who was the only player who was playing well and the team just stopped passing him the ball. Boston needs to play as a team, but recognize who has the hot hand and continue to feed them, especially early in the game.

This is the fifth game of Boston’s seven-game home stand. The Celtics all year have been the best home-court team, but have struggled during this home streak, winning just half of the first four games. This is a great opportunity to build momentum and get back to winning ways.

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