Expect More, Bayless: Grizz Survive Celtics

USA TODAY Sports

The Grizzlies survived a late scare from the Boston Celtics as they rode Jerryd Bayless to their 47th victory on the season.

Together....everybody just breathe. The Memphis Grizzlies held on to defeat the Boston Celtics Saturday night. What many people anticipated to be a low scoring, grind it out affair, turned into a high scoring blowout that got way too close for comfort late.

Memphis got a wicked good game from Jerryd Bayless, who continues his torrid stretch of play, going off for 30 points on 11-20 shooting, 4-6 from 3.

Early news that Marc Gasol was out indefinitely with an abdomen tear, and that Zach Randolph would not be starting because he was late to shoot-around[1] served as a warning that this would be a long night, and a long night indeed it was.

Boston fans and followers were out in full force, arguably outnumbering the Grizzlies fans. It was TD Garden South at the forum tonight. Fueled by the surprise home game, the Celtics got out to a hot start, leading 10-2 after just three minutes, much to the delight of their overzealous fans.[2]

After a quick timeout, Memphis would respond with a great offensive run to pull within two to close the quarter, and then stuck Tony Allen on Paul Pierce in the second, handcuffing him almost completely. Then, Jerryd Bayless took over.

Bayless had 12 of his 30 points in the quarter along with two of his three assists to pace Memphis. He hit 3's, he hit jumpers, and had a pretty fake and shake floater, as he displayed the full repertoire of his offensive talents.

The Grizzlies would lead by as many as 19, prompting Celtics coach Doc Rivers to pull Paul Pierce and Jason Terry, virtually conceding the game with around seven minutes to play. The thing Doc failed to realize, is that Memphis never puts things away that easily.

Leading 98-79 with 6:35 to play in the game, Memphis watched as the Celtics hit three 3's, three jumpers, and four free throws as part of a 19-4 run to close the game to within four with a minute left. After playing the free throw game for what seemed like hours, The Grizzlies finally managed to put it away for a final score of 110-106.

Game Notes from the Legend-Diary

  1. Three Grizzlies players, Conley, Randolph and Tony Allen had double-doubles, and all but one Grizzly that played had a double figure scoring game.
  2. The lone Grizzly to not reach double figures was Quincy Pondexter, as he continues to struggle from beyond the arc. He didn't have a bad game tonight, especially considering he was asked to guard Paul Pierce at times, but he has got to get his shot to start falling.
  3. Doc Rivers was T'd up during the fourth quarter, and then let out a Thunderous "OH F*** YOU!" to the official. It was legitimately frightening, and I remained quiet for a few moments, in fear of my life and the lives of everyone in the arena.
  4. This was the second straight home game featuring a split crowd, and I don't very much like it, and the dozens of Celtic fans who sat around me found that out tonight. I exhausted my list of "Departed" jokes and my Boston accent.
  5. There were several Boston "fans" there who didn't know who Brian Scalabrine was. How can you call yourself a Celtic fan and not know who The White Mamba, aka Drops Buckets, aka Veal, aka Vanilla Godzilla, aka Firehouse Scrubs, aka The Great Irish Hope, aka Ginger Snap Yo Fingas is?
  6. Third game in a row where the little red headed girl was absent. My heart, she breaks.
  7. Ed Davis was POSTERIZED by Avery Bradley in the first half of this game. He needs to add some serious muscle, even more than he needs to work on his free throws. I honestly believe I could beat him at arm wrestling. There are now two things I want to do: arm wrestle Ed Davis, and play one-on-one with Austin Daye. And run away with the Red Headed girl. I wanna do all three of those things. In reverse order.

The win puts the Grizzlies back to a franchise best 25 games over .500 as they remain in 5th place in the Western Conference. The next week features games against the Wizards, Knicks, and Rockets; three teams with pretty solid big men, so if the Grizzlies are going to win and keep pace, or overtake the Clippers and Nuggets, they'll need Bayless to stay hot and get better play out of Zach Randolph and better overall production from the bench.

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[1] I for one found this extremely frustrating. This is the third time since coming to Memphis that this has happened. It's one thing when you're the new guy who is coming off character questions, it's another thing entirely when you're the face of the franchise.

[2] There were five guys that I counted wearing full Celtics warm-ups/track suits. I'm not sure if their parents were embarrassed, but I think I was embarrassed enough for them.


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