After watching college a lot of college basketball for the last three days this game was filled with well-executed offense, decisive shot takers and makers, and actual dribble penetration. Not to go all NBA elitist on you all, as even a Saturday night bout between two playoff teams did not render half of the energy as the round of 32 yielded in the tournament.
But enough of basketball discussion not related to the Celtics. Neither team in the FedEx Center was its true self, as Marc Gasol both sat for the Grizzlies, and Courtney Lee and Kevin Garnett were out for the Celtics. The Celtics fought for a while, but were just too flat and undermanned to compete and ended up losing 110-106, in what is sad for me to say– an expected result on a road back-to-back against a top tier team. Also Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins decided to have Z-Bo come off the bench, possibly to match up with the Celtics smaller unit. As a result, both teams were forced to start players that would otherwise be responsible for giving a spark off the bench (Ed Davis, Darrell Arthur, Jason Terry, and Jeff Green). That meant a good amount of run for Jordan Crawford, whose game could be summarized with the following tweets:
- From the beginning this game was on Pierce’s shoulders to win or lose. He responded well in the first quarter with solid play and 13 points in the first frame. Unfortunately the weight was too much for him to handle despite a solid effort putting up 26 points and 4 dimes. As the title suggests, he was out there alone tonight for the first three quarters, until a bizarre fourth quarter…
- It should be noted that the Celtics built a bit of a comeback down the stretch with Pierce off the floor; maybe the Celtics bench have been watching a lot of the NCAA tournament with their late game fight. This game was a safe 15-point lead (at one point up to 21) for the Grizzlies, and then strange things happened (for example: Shavlik Randolph blocks, Jordan Crawford 3-pointers, and Terrence Williams playing like a point-god), and Memphis was forced to execute down the stretch and play the free-throw shooting game.
- Lionel Hollins started the second half with Conley, Bayless, Allen, Prince, and Randolph. Wonder what made him change the line-up, considering Memphis was up ten at half.
- Jeff Green’s shot clock awareness leaves something to be desired. I feel like he always has it in his hands with the shot clock running down and making an ill-advised pass to someone without leaving enough time for them to shoot. While we are on the subject of Green, I wish he was a lot more aggressive with the Celtics shorthanded, but Green’s inconsistency is somewhat of an expectation - besides he still has some slack left over from the game against Miami.
- The Celtics struggled on the boards, getting out-rebounded 44-37. Couldn’t help but think how bad it would have been if Marc Gasol had been active. It would have been ugly.
- Watching the ‘Uncle Drew’ commercials makes me happy, but I wish they would add another player to the crew. Just throwing a name out there: Jeff Green. One of his reverse dunks in an old-suit would make me giddy.
- My favorite pointless thing to track—technical free-throws, had an interesting wrinkle in tonight’s game: JET took (and made) two free throws with Pierce on the floor. Color me intrigued.
There were plenty of Marquette jokes towards the end of this one, as Doc Rivers seemed to try to get kicked out as his alma mater was in a close one with Butler as the Celtics game was winding down (note: Marquette won by 2). That would be an easy justification, but Rivers was trying to light a spark under a team where losing when they already have the appropriate excuses heading into the game– has become the norm.
Here is an Avery Bradley throw-down to end things on a positive note looking forward to their game against conference the Knicks in the TD Garden on Tuesday: