Celtics-Grizzlies review: Bench offers hope

Celtics-Grizzlies review: Bench offers hope
March 24, 2013, 12:00 am
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The valiant effort put up by Boston's end-of-the-bench players is what many will take away from Saturday's 110-106 loss at Memphis.

But for veterans like Paul Pierce, it was yet another game in which too many turnovers proved to be too costly for the Celtics to have a legitimate shot at winning.

"This was a game we got off to a good start," said Paul Pierce who led all Celtics with 26 points.

"We have no room for error, especially when you got two starters out," said Paul Pierce who led all Celtics with 26 points. "This was a game we got off to a good start, but the turnovers ..."

Yes, those pesky, momentum-killing miscues were again alive and well and ultimately ended any hopes the Celtics had of victory.

Boston's turnover tally of 15 isn't that particularly high, but those mistakes led to 21 points.

Giving away that many points, on the road to one of the top teams in the NBA, makes it nearly impossible to compete let alone win.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers could find plenty of factors to point to that contributed to his team's fourth straight loss.

But the turnovers?

Yeah, they kind of stand out.

"Our turnovers, again, killed us," Rivers said. "They had 21 points on turnovers. That was tough."

Here are some other factors outlined prior to the game, and how those factors played out.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Holding their own on the boards will be a must if the Celtics are to have any shot at winning this game. They face a Grizzlies team that averages 51.4 rebounds per game which ranks ninth in the NBA.

WHAT WE SAW: Memphis spent most of the game controlling the boards and finished with a plus-7 advantage (44-37) on the glass. While rebounding was certainly a factor that worked against the Celtics, Boston's inability to get more defensives through the first three-plus quarters was an even bigger factor.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Paul Pierce vs Tayshaun Prince: Pierce's great footwork and sneaky quickness will be put to the test against Prince whose long wingspan and really good instincts defensively make him a challenge for any player to score against.

WHAT WE SAW: Pierce got off early as he lit up the Grizzlies and Prince for 13, first-quarter points. But Memphis switched all-NBA defender and former Celtic Tony Price on Pierce in the second quarter. In the second, Pierce took only two shots - both misses - and was scoreless. He got it going in the second half and finished with a team-high 26 points.

PLAYER TO WATCH: The Celtics were able to breathe a sigh of relief after Courtney Lee's injury near the end of Friday's loss at Dallas, was just an left ankle sprain. It's unclear if it will heal in enough time for him to play tonight.

WHAT WE SAW: Lee ruled himself out prior to the game, but did say he expected he would be able to play on Tuesday against the New York Knicks. The C's were also without Kevin Garnett who also has a left ankle injury.

STAT TO TRACK: Memphis is one of the best offensive rebounding teams, which in turn has been huge in terms of their second-chance points this season. The Grizzlies average 14.7 second-chance points per game which ranks tied for sixth in the NBA.

WHAT WE SAW:  Memphis was the latest team to hurt the Celtics when it comes to second-chance points. Boston has been outscored in second-chance points in five of the last seven games. On Saturday, Memphis won the second-chance points game, 19-15.