Powe happy he chose Grizzlies

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Powe happy he chose Grizzlies

By JessicaCamerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON - Leon Powe is one of the NBAs nice guys.

From his personal success story of thriving out of the foster care system to his professional success story of bouncing back from injury upon injury, Powe has displayed resiliency with a firm dedication and a warm smile on his face.

In spite of all the feel-good stories in the league, though, basketball is still a business, not a game of emotions. There comes a point when its time to think with your head and not your heart. That time arrived for Powe this season.

After finding himself riding the bench for the majority of the season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, it was time for a change of scenery. The organization waived Powe in February, making him available to join another team.

He immediately thought of the Boston Celtics.

This was the team that had given him his first start and the city that embraced his relentless effort. Two years after signing with the Cavaliers, he still had high regard for the Celtics' organization, as well as an appreciation for the fans who played such a big role in the Celtics' NBA championships.

"Ill be happy wherever I end up, but Boston is always holding a special place in my heart," Powe told CSNNE.com shortly after being waived. "The fans were so good to me, everybody up there was so nice, and it would be a great thing to return back to the Celtics if I could."

Even though Celtics always appreciated Powes efforts during his time in green, there were all those nagging injuries that plagued him throughout his career. The team needed to win now -- and with all the healthy bodies they could get. Powe had recovered from a torn right meniscus only weeks before he was waived.

When the Celtics signed forward Troy Murphy, the most highly sought-after free agent on the market, Powe realized he had to move on from the possibility of returning to Boston. At 27 years old, he needed stability and an opportunity to play.

He knew dwelling on what could have been in Boston wouldn't do him any good.

Once they signed him, it was pretty easy what they were saying -- they wanted Troy Murphy over me, Powe said. And they still had a lot of bigs here on the Celtics, so I was just like, Ive got to move on and Ive got to go somewhere else so I can at least get some type of playing time, some type of run. I didnt want to come over here and just sit down on the bench the whole time the rest of the season and be back in the same situation.

He added with a laugh, Like I said, I love all the fans, love everybody, but when it comes down to it, my little baby needs Pull-Ups.

The Memphis Grizzlies were one of the first teams that had expressed interest when Powe became available. He remembers things like that.

He took a look at his suitors, which also included in the New York Knicks, and assessed the best situation for this season and his future. He was attracted to the Grizzlies low-post game, to which he thought he could contribute, and their interest in size.

Memphis, I looked at their roster and they were rotating three bigs and they were an up-and-coming young team, he said. They were one of the first ones to call me when everything went down, and I respect that about them. And I knew general manager and vice-president of basketball operations) Chris Wallace already a little bit.

I was talking to a number of different teams. I think for the other teams, they wanted me to wait a little bit more. I had a team that I felt I could help and as they were waiting for me, I wasnt going to keep them waiting any longer. So I met with them and made it happen, and its been a good look for me. A real good look for me.

A real good look for Powe, indeed.

On Wednesday night he scored 13 points (5-6 FG) in 17 minutes off the bench as the Grizzlies beat the Celtics, 90-87. Nine of those points came in the first half alone. He hit the basket hard, took charges, and got to the line.

"Leon Powe was the baddest man on the planet tonight," said Doc Rivers.

Powe recalled Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins told his team to attack, and he was happy to oblige.

"Attack, thats what I like to do, so I said Im going to be a little bit extra aggressive tonight and see if I can force the issue a little bit, he said.

After watching the Cavaliers from the bench for the first half of the season, Powe hopes to look toward the playoffs with the Grizzlies. Their win against the Celtics gave them a two-game lead over the Houston Rockets for the eighth spot in the Western Conference.

Powe always believed that, when given the opportunity, he could help a club play postseason basketball. He looks to be on that path in Memphis.

It just proves to me that I made the right decision, he told CSNNE.com. I think things happen for a reason, and I think I was sent over here for a reason. I think what Ive been doing here in the last few weeks, helping this team, and helping our young guys understand the defensive principals too, I can bring a lot to this team and thats what I try to do.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA

Celtics force overtime, come up short in 127-123 loss to Blazers

Celtics force overtime, come up short in 127-123 loss to Blazers

BOSTON – For the second time in as many games, the Boston Celtics ran into a team that played with a greater sense of desperation.

And the result was yet another defeat as the Portland Trail Blazers, playing their second game in less than 24 hours, were able to get off their losing skid with a 127-123 overtime win over the Celtics.

Boston (26-17) has now lost back-to-back games at home, while the Blazers (19-27) snapped a four-game losing streak.

In the extra session, Portland jumped out to a 117-113 lead only for Boston’s Al Horford scoring on a bank-shot in the paint and Thomas draining a go-ahead 3-pointer for Boston.

Portland regained the lead when Al-Farouq Aminu made a pair of free throws with 59.3 seconds to play to make it a 119-118 game.

Boston soon fell behind 122-118, but a pair of Thomas free throws with 44.8 seconds to play made it a two-point game.

Mason Plumlee scored with 24 seconds to play in overtime, and an Al Horford miss – rebounded by Plumlee who was then fouled by Horford – essentially put the game away with 13.5 seconds to play.

Boston found themselves down late in the fourth quarter and seemingly headed towards defeat, only to get an unexpected lift in the final seconds from Terry Rozier.

Trailing by three points late in the fourth, Boston had one last chance to force overtime so who did they turn to?

If you were thinking Thomas which is what the Blazers and most fans were thinking, you would have been dead wrong.

The fourth quarter may be Thomas’ time to shine, but at that point in the game it was Rozier’s moment as he drained a 3-pointer with 8.4 seconds left that ultimately forced overtime. He finished with 15 points, three rebounds and three assists off the bench.

The Blazers came into the game with the kind of potent scoring punch in the backcourt that strikes the fear into the heart of any defense, let alone one that has been as up and down as the Boston Celtics this season.

For most of the game, Portland’s 1-2 punch of Damian Lillard (28 points) and C.J. McCollum (35 points) lived up to the lofty billing as they combined for 63 points.

McCollum and Lillard both did their share of damage down the stretch, but it was their bench – specifically Meyers Leonard – whose play kept Portland in the game early on.

He finished with 17 points off the bench.

Boston led 65-56 at the half, but soon found itself in a 67-all game after McCollum made the second of two free throws.

But Boston countered with a put-back basket by Kelly Olynyk and a 3-pointer from Isaiah Thomas to push Boston’s lead to 72-67.

Once again the Blazers fought back and eventually took the lead 74-72 on a powerful put-back dunk by Haverill (Mass.) native Noah Vonleh.

Brad Stevens had seen enough of his team getting pushed around, as he called a time-out with 5:31 to play in the quarter.

It didn’t help as Portland continued to bully their way around the rim for second and third-shot opportunities with their lead peaking at 78-72 following a put-back basket by  Plumlee.

But the Celtics responded with a 7-2 spurt capped off by an end-to-end, driving lay-up by Rozier that cut Portland’s lead to 80-79 with 2:44 to play in the quarter. Boston continued to be within striking distance as the third quarter ended with the Celtics trailing 88-86.