C's defeat Grizzlies 98-80

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C's defeat Grizzlies 98-80

BOSTON Healthy. Hurt. It doesn't really matter much these days for the Boston Celtics, whose under-manned lineup continues to overwhelm opponents with a suffocating display defensively.

You can add the Memphis Grizzlies to the teams Boston (13-10) has defended well, with the C's coming away with a 98-80 win.

After a relatively close first half, Boston began to trend toward blowout status in the fourth quarter. Kevin Garnett led all scorers with 24 points that included another 3-pointer - his third straight game with at least one 3-pointer made.

Memphis did have former UConn star Rudy Gay, who led the Grizzlies with 21 points and seven rebounds.

It became all but official with 3:31 to play, as the C's emptied their bench with a 20-point lead.

The victory extends Boston's winning streak to four in a row, which ties their longest string of wins this season.

Boston began the game on a sour note by not having Brandon Bass available. Bass, one of the NBA's top reserves this season, had some swelling in his left knee and was unavailable. He is being listed as day-to-day.

But as we've seen many times with the Celtics of late, injuries only serve as an opportunity for someone else to step in and contribute.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said before the game that Chris Wilcox and JaJuan Johnson would log most of the minutes in Bass' absence.

Getting one of the two playing well would have been nice.

Truth be told, both made the most of their increased role.

First there was Wilcox, had had 12 points off the bench - 10 of which came in the first quarter.

Johnson saw rare first-half action on Sunday, and didn't waste much time showcasing an offensive game that proved to be one of the many challenges facing the Grizzlies.

The 6-foot-9 rookie finished with 10 points, his second straight game scoring in double figures.

As for the Grizzlies, they also have had their share of key players out with injuries. Zach Randolph has been out for all but four games this season with a torn MCL injury. And just minutes before tip-off, Memphis found out they wouldn't have Tony Allen because of a heel and hip injury.

OFFSEASON

Vertical's Bobby Marks: Celtics a 'wild card' in Durant chase

Vertical's Bobby Marks: Celtics a 'wild card' in Durant chase

Many people think Kevin Durant-to-the-Celtics is a pipe dream.

But Bobby Marks of The Vertical isn't one of them.

Appearing on CBS Sports Radio's Gio and Jones Show, Marks said Durant's decision on where to play next year will be based on "a lot of different things. Does he go the one-year route that a lot of us think might be in play to get his years of service up to 10 and then next year he can really cash out? Can you win a championship going forward? I think that eliminates more than a handful of teams here, and then there’s also that stability factor and just how challenging it’s going to be for them to fit him in (from) a cap standpoint.

"Most of these teams that he will meet with will have to really gut a little bit of their roster outside of Oklahoma City and Boston.”

Boston?

“Boston is kind of a wild card here,” Marks said. “They’re in the East, so you don’t have to bang your head against San Antonio, Golden State, Portland, the Clippers. Yes, you would have the NBA champs in your back yard with Cleveland, but basically you would really just have them and Toronto.

"And Boston’s got a lot of ways to improve in the future (with all of of their draft picks). Durant could walk into the Celtics meeting room and say, ‘Hey, I want to play with Al Horford,’ and they’ll be able to create room to do so. That’s why I kind of put Boston up there along with Oklahoma City.”

Red Sox recall infielder Mike Miller, ship Cuevas back to PawSox

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Red Sox recall infielder Mike Miller, ship Cuevas back to PawSox

The Red Sox made another pitcher-for-infielder roster swap today, sending William Cuevas back to Pawtucket and bringing up Mike Miller as his replacement.

The Sox had summoned Cuevas from the PawSox over the weekend when they ran through their bullpen in Friday night's come-from-behind victory over Texas and he pitched twice against the Rangers, holding them to two hits over 2 2/3 scoreless innings on Saturday and Sunday. Deven Marrero had been shipped out when Cuevas arrived, leaving the Sox with only one backup infielder (Marco Hernandez).

Now they have two again, with Miller making his first trip to the major leagues. He's been primarily a second baseman for Pawtucket, though he's also seen action at short and third. Miller -- the team's ninth-round selection in the 2012 draft -- had a combined .251 average in 46 games for the PawSox and six games for Double-A Portland.

However, his stay with the Red Sox will likely be as short as Cuevas'. Brock Holt may soon be ready for reactivation, after having missed more than a month because of a concussion, and he could take Miller's roster spot when he returns.