Celtics - Grizzlies preview: Three big problems

Celtics - Grizzlies preview: Three big problems
November 4, 2013, 10:00 am
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The Boston Celtics have a new Big Three; as in three pains in the you-know-what that collectively have been at the heart of their struggles during the infancy stage of this season.

Offensive rebounds.

Lack of 3-point shots


"They can't solve all three of them," Comcast SportsNet analyst P.J. Carlesimo said after Boston's 87-77 loss at Detroit on Sunday. "But they have to solve one of them if they're going to put themselves in position to win."

Boston's three opponents have out-rebounded them 51-33 on the offensive boards, resulting in a lopsided 69-43 deficit in second-chance points.

And 3-point shooting, something that has been encouraged by Celtics coach Brad Stevens, has been sparingly used in the first three games.

The Celtics have averaged 15 3s per game thus far, not nearly enough to make a serious dent or impact on games.

And the turnovers more than any other issue, seem to be the most easily correctable.

This is especially true when a good number of them come about not because of the defense, but due to just being careless without the ball.

Boston is averaging 21 turnovers per game while forcing their opponents into committing just 15.3 per game.

Improvement in any one of those categories will bode well for Boston getting its first win of the season after what has been one of the worst starts in franchise history.

Here are a few more keys to tonight's game:

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Finishing the game has been the Celtics' biggest problem this season. Boston has led in the fourth quarter every game this season which for them is an encouraging sign going forward.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Brandon Bass vs Zach Randolph: Bass has been a solid performer for the Celtics, averaging 14 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. But he will have his hands full with Zach Randolph whose 45 double-doubles last season ranked fourth in the NBA. This season, he is averaging 13 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.

PLAYER TO WATCH:  Kelly Olynyk had his best game in the NBA on Sunday, with 15 points and eight rebounds. His success was due in large part to him looking to score more, something head coach Brad Stevens and Olynyk's teammates have been encouraging him to do. "That's a positive I guess," Olynyk told CSNNE.com earlier. "There's not a lot that's negative from a comment like that other than you're not shooting it enough."

STAT TO TRACK:  Boston got 38 points from its bench on Sunday, their highest scoring game to date. The Celtics' second unit will need another strong effort against a Memphis team whose second unit averages 34 points per game.