Celtics - Grizzlies preview: C's hope to get even

Celtics - Grizzlies preview: C's hope to get even
November 27, 2013, 2:00 pm
Share This Post

BOSTON — The Redemption Tour rolls on for the Boston Celtics (6-10) as they look to extend their winning streak to three in a row while extending the Memphis Grizzlies' struggles in this Marc Gasol-less stretch.

Gasol, the NBA's reigning Defensive Player of the Year, suffered a Grade-2 MCL sprain against San Antonio on Friday and is reportedly out for about a month.

His play was among the keys to Memphis defeating the Celtics earlier this season, a game that several Boston players felt they gave away in the fourth quarter.

That was when Memphis backup Jerryd Bayless scored all 15 of his points off the bench to spark the Grizzlies' comeback.

"That was the game, Bayless going off," Boston's Brandon Bass told CSNNE.com. "Hopefully we can play the same way we played down there, but not let the ball get to the middle (of the paint), let Bayless get to the middle and then we can win the game."

Said Gerald Wallace: "The main thing is we know we had a great chance of winning that game in Memphis. We didn't execute and we let Bayless get hot. He took the game over in the fourth."

The loss serves as a reminder that often it's not whether you play your best basketball, but when.

And those stretches of not-so-great basketball on the Celtics' part, have become less frequent.

But head coach Brad Stevens, ever the coach, isn't satisfied.

"We're still not playing 48 minutes," he said. "But we are doing  some things, you can see it from a coaching standpoint, there's a lot of things happening that we're getting better at."

Here are some other keys to tonight's game:

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:  Without Gasol, it will be interesting to see if the Grizzlies try to pound the ball inside to Zach Randolph and Gasol's replacement, Kosta Koufos. No team looks to score inside the paint more than the Grizzlies who collectively have taken an NBA-high 212 shots inside the paint (and outside of the restricted area) this season.

MATCHUP TO WATCH:  Jeff Green vs Tayshaun Prince: Looking at the scoring carousel that is the Boston Celtics, it appears Green's up next for a breakout game. Considering he had 22 points against them in their first matchup, that would not come as a shock to anyone. Meanwhile, Green will be dueling with Prince who was once regarded as one of the NBA's top defenders. Prince is still good, but doesn't impact the game defensively nearly as much as he did during his glory days in Detroit.

PLAYER TO WATCH:  Jerryd Bayless lit up the Celtics in their first matchup, scoring all 15 of his points in the fourth quarter to trigger the Grizzlies comeback win. Rest assured Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee, Boston's two best perimeter defenders, will pay much closer attention to Bayless tonight.

STAT TO TRACK: Memphis does a good job of limiting the shot attempts of most opponents. Teams are getting to jack up 78.4 shots per game against Memphis, the sixth-fewest shots allowed in the NBA this season.