We know the deal. Rudy Gay will not be returning to the lineup for us this year. Not in the regular season nor the playoffs. So, we continue to press on. We move forth and take it one game at a time, hoping to break our playoff drought and hold onto the 8th and final spot in the West.
Before I get to talking about the Celtics, I was struck yesterday by how many people jumped on the Gay injury and inquired whether or not the Grizzlies can make the playoffs NOW that Gay is not going to return to the team. I mean, even the most optimistic Grizzlies fans didn't expect Gay to return to the lineup until the end of this month -- at the earliest. And it's not like we woke up on Tuesday morning with Gay having played over the last month. He had missed 14 straight games. We've held onto the 8th seed without Rudy Gay. So to say that NOW we look like less of a playoff team... the chatter seems a bit late, no?
I'm just failing to see the connection here. Maybe it's because I'm eternally pessimistic and had little faith in Gay returning this season anyway, but my assessment of the Grizzlies making the playoffs just this past weekend had nothing to do with Gay returning and everything to do with the current make up of the team. It hurts not having Gay back this season, but we're no further from a playoff spot this morning than we were some 40 hours ago.
Our playoff run starts now. And, unfortunately, it starts on the road against... the Celtics.
For those Grizzlies fans who are not as familiar with the Celtics resume, here is what we're looking at, keying in on our strengths and weaknesses.... (thanks to HoopsStats.com)
- 50-19, 0.5 games behing the Bulls for the top spot in the East
- 29-6 at home (3rd in the NBA)
- 6-4 over their last 10
- Nov. 13, lost at home to the Celtics 116-110
- +18.7 Efficiency Recap Difference (1st)
- 8.4 steals per game (3rd)
- 5.1 threes made (27th) on 36.7% shooting (10th)
- Allow 52.5 points to opposing frontcourts (1st)
- Allow 90.4 points per game (1st) on 48.8% shooting (1st)
- 23.8 assists per game (1st)
- Cough up 6.7 steals per game (4th)
I don't think anyone believes tonight's game is going to be a walk in the park. In fact, we're going to have to play one of our best games of the year to compete with the Celtics, especially on the road.
We need to limit our turnovers, for them to make bad decisions, which is much easier said than done, and get to the free-throw line. One positive note is that the Celtics aren't among the most effective three-point shooting teams, which is one area where we've been getting killed all season long.
Tonight, we not only need to compete, but we need to keep it within reach throughout. The Knicks had their chances on Monday night against the Celtics and once they lost their competitive edge in the second half the Celtics took off.
For more information on the Celtics, read the many posts our friends have written over at CelticsBlog.
Grizzlies vs Celtics coverage