Celtics beat up by Grizzlies, 90-87

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Celtics beat up by Grizzlies, 90-87

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON The Boston Celtics have been saying for weeks that finishing with the best record in the Eastern Conference would be nice, but not a priority.

Their play of late certainly reflects that sentiment, following yet another head-scratching loss at home to a team they know they had no business losing to.

On Wednesday night it was the Memphis Grizzlies escaping with a 90-87 win, becoming the latest club from the Western Conference to give the C's fits at home.

Trailing 88-87, Boston had a chance to take the lead in the game's closing seconds, but Rajon Rondo's floater in the lane hit the back of the rim before spinning out.

After a pair of Mike Conley free throws, the Celtics had a chance to force overtime.

Coming out of a time-out, it was clear that the Celtics were going to launch a 3-pointer.

Oh, they got one off.

That was expected.

The shooter being Glen Davis?

Definitely not what the Celtics were looking for.

Without being asked about Davis' 3-pointer, coach Doc Rivers said, "no, Baby was not supposed to shoot the 3."

Ill-advised shots seemed to be a recurring theme for the Celtics on Wednesday.

Like the runner in the lane that Rondo missed.

Rivers said he was surprised that Rondo took that shot, at that point in the game.

"I honestly thought Rondo was going to hand it off to Paul Pierce in transition, and once I saw that I thought, 'I'll take that all day.' "

After the game, Rondo said he didn't see Pierce.

"I got what I wanted," Rondo said, referring to the type of shot in that late-game situation. "I just missed."

The same could be said about the Celtics and the growing number of missed opportunities they are letting pass by in their efforts to finish with the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Following Wednesday's loss, Boston (50-20) is now a full game behind Chicago for the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Meanwhile, the Grizzlies (40-32) are fighting to hold on to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

And wins over championship-caliber teams like the Celtics not only help pad their win total, but also provides a jolt to their confidence.

"This is a great team over there, a great team," said former Celtic Leon Powe, who shared team-high scoring honors for the Grizzlies with 13 points. "And when you can come on the road and beat a great team like that . . . and do it on the defensive end, like I thought we did, it's huge for a young, up-and-coming team."

Powe wasn't the lone former Celtic coming up big for the opposition.

Tony Allen, who elected to sign with Memphis instead of re-signing with Boston this past summer, had eight points and seven rebounds for the Grizzlies.

As for the Celtics, Wednesday was yet another disappointing performance that may come back to bite them if they don't secure the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

"A loss is a loss," said Kevin Garnett, who had 10 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists. "Every loss stings."

But Wednesday's loss, he acknowledged, hurt a little bit more than some - and it had nothing to do with losing ground to the Chicago Bulls, either.

"We're at home," Garnett said. "We're trying to establish something at home. So yeah, it stings a little more."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Tyronn Lue says Celtics harder to defend than Warriors: 'They're running all kinds of s---'

Tyronn Lue says Celtics harder to defend than Warriors: 'They're running all kinds of s---'

The Golden State Warriors are the least of Tyronn Lue's worries, Cleveland Cavaliers coach explained Tuesday.

Even though Lue and the Cavs are up 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals, he is apparently overwhelmed with the Boston Celtics to the point where he isn't even thinking about Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and the 67-win Warriors.

"We're just focused on Boston," Lue said of the Warriors following the Cavs' Game 4 win, via ESPN.com. "The stuff they're running, it's harder to defend than Golden State's [offense] for me, as far as the actions and all the running around and all the guys who are making all the plays, so it's a totally different thing."

No, seriously.

"Like, they hit the post, Golden State runs splits and all that stuff, but these guys are running all kinds of s---," Lue said of Boston coach Brad Stevens' schemes. "I'll be like, 'F---.' They're running all kinds of s---, man. And Brad's got them moving and cutting and playing with pace, and everybody is a threat. It's tough, you know, it's tough."

Without Isaiah Thomas, the Celtics finished Game 4 with four players who had 15 points or more. They also had six players who scored double digits in Boston's Game 3 win. Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Kelly Olynyk, Jae Crowder and Al Horford have made heavy offensive contributions. And they not just scoring. The Celtics are working hard off the ball by setting screens and cutting to the hoop to pressure the Cavaliers defense.

The Celtics may not have the Warriors' star power -- but Stevens and Boston are still managing to leave Lue in a state of clear befuddlement after a win.

LeBron James praised Stevens more directly when discussing how the Celtics "run different things" after losing Thomas to injury.

"So they had to kind of reshape, and that’s the beauty of having Brad Stevens as your coach," James told reporters. "You’re able to reshape what you do offensively and still be in a good rhythm. It’s been challenging for us to kind of — plays out of time-out, kind of been killing us on ATOs and keeping us off balance, but in the second half we kind of got a little bit of rhythm, and think we’ll be better in Game 5."