Photo: NBC Sports Boston
By Patrick Whalen
After the Celtics emotional comeback win against the Raptors on Wednesday the Celtics were back in action on Friday at home against the Grizzlies. The Celtics are already 1-0 against Memphis this season as they won 112-103 in what was the last Celtics win of 2018. In that game the Celtics had to over come a 17 point halftime defficit and the hero again was Kyrie Irving with a 26 point 13 assist double double. Marcus Morris also went for 22 in that game. Memphis has had some roster changes since the last matchup between the two teams. They acquired Justin Holiday from the Bulls and Joakim Noah has become more cmfortable with his new team. The Grizzlies would also be without two key players from the last matchup as both Kyle Anderson and Dillon Brooks were both out with injuries. The Celtics meanwhile had no one out due to injury and Al Horford’s minutes restriction was finally scrapped. With the whole roster healthy and momentum coming off of last games huge win the Celtics were looking to carry that momentum into this game against Memphis.
The momentum deffinetly carried over and helped the Celtics jump out to a hot start as they held a 35-24 lead at the end of the first quarter. Kyrie Irving also carried the momentum over from the last game as he was still going all Uncle Drew on the Grizzlies with 38 points on 14-21 shooting to go with 11 assists and 7 rebounds. Kyrie was passing even better than last night and started off with one of the best assists of the season to Marcus Smart.
Plus whats an Uncle Drew performance without a little spin cycle fade away.
The Celtics also had another great offensive performance from their newest three point weapon… Marcus Smart. Smart had 20 points on 7-9 shooting with 6-8 being from downtown. Smart of course still stuffed the stat sheet on the defensive end with 6 rebounds and 3 steals. On this play Smart showed off what he can bring on both ends with the defense and fisihing it down the other end with one of those 6 threes.
Al Horford also carried the momentum over from last game to show that his scoring slup is over. Horford followed up his 24 point night with 18 points on 8-10 shooting. Despite the three starters balling the Celtics still trailed by 4 at the half. But the celtics jumped back out in the third and took a 5 point lead into the fourth and never relinquished it. This was in large part to some solid performances off the bench. Jaylen Brown led the bench in scoring with 12 points and 6 rebounds including these 2 that brought the Garden fans to their feet.
Terry Rozier also chipped in 10 points and 4 assists in off the bench. Aron Baynes also gave the Celtics the thing they missed the most during his absence, rebounding. Baynes went for 6 points and 12 rebounds off the bench helping the Celtics win the rebounding battle 42-39. Thanks to the bench the Celtics were able to hold on for the win by a score of 122-116 despite having 17 turnovers on the night. This win was also good for the team as they were able to pull it out despite two key staters, Jayson Tautm and Marcus Morris, struggling mightly as they combined for just 10 points on 4-18 shooting.
The Grizzlies also had some great performances that kept the game as close as it was. Mike Conely and Jaren Jackson Jr. led the way scoring with 26 and 23 points respectivly. The newly acquired Justin Holiday also had a good night with 14 points and 6 rebounds. Shelvin Mack, Omri Casspi and JaMychal Green all had double digits off the bench with 15, 12, and 12 respectively. The unlikely performance was for Marc Gasol who had a double double with just 4 points. Gasol decided to show off his passing skills while he was struggling shooting as he finished with 12 assists and 11 rebounds for his double double. But all that was still not enough to knock off Kyrie and the Celtics.
With the win the Celtics are now 27-18 on the season and remain still 6 games back of the Raptors for first in the eastern conference. The Celtics also remain undefeated at the Garden in 2019 with an average margin of victory of 16.2 points over those 6 games. The boys are obviously taking pride in defending The Parquet. Yes, I know corny but I had to. The Celtics will now head down to Atlanta on Saturday for their second leg of this back to back before starting a 5 game homestand, headlined by the Warriors coming to town. As for their next matchup the Celtics are already 2-0 against the Hawks this season with an average margin of victory of 19.5 points. The celtics will look to shut down the two young stars in John Collins and Trae Young and if they can acomplish that and keep the offense clicking a win is almost a guaruntee. Hopefully the Celtics can get win number three in a row and start a new and lengthy winning streak.
Also, don’t forget to keep sending in those votes for all your favorite Celtics as we try and send them to this years All Star festivites. Hit the link below and help make the the city of Charlotte a little greener with all your favorite Celtics.