The Grizzlies are back in business! Coming off a “huge” win against the Hawks, the Grizzlies take on the Celtics Saturday night in Memphis. The Celtics lost last night to the Utah Jazz but have not lost back to back games since the first of the season. The Grizzlies look to continue the momentum from their win on Friday.
To learn more about this Boston Celtics team I asked Jeff Nooney from Celtics Blog to give us a little insight into the Grizzlies opponent tonight. Here’s what he had to say:
1. How much have your expectations changed after seeing this team's success even without Hayward?
Oddly enough the early success has put expectations almost back to pre-season levels. They've cooled a bit from their torrid pace, but challenging Cleveland for the East is still looking like a reasonable possibility.
2. Following up with that, how important has Jayson Tatum's quick development been for this team?
It's been huge, his game is so polished for someone his age. Right now he's a killer secondary option on offense because of his three-point shooting and ability to drive past closing defenders. His defense has also been a nice surprise. Tatum's length and ability to switch is such a huge asset for the team.
3. Over the last few weeks, the Celtics defense has been down a bit. Any explanations of what had been a difference for them?
I think we're seeing a couple things. There's a little natural regression because they were defending at a historic level to start the season. The schedule has hurt a little too. They've played a lot of games in a condensed period, so fatigue could be playing a role. Guys are a little banged up, but I won't be concerned unless the trend continues for another couple weeks.
4. Will the Celtics be at full strength tonight? I noticed Kyrie and Horford getting rest in a few of the last games.
Kyrie and Horford should be good to go, but Marcus Morris is likely out for a bit with his knee issues. Although Stevens has a little Pop in him, so you can't rule out a random DNP-rest.
5. Celtics dropped one to the Bulls the other night. What are realistic expectations for Memphis fans to think upset tonight?
Memphis gets them on the second night of a back-to-back, and Gasol has put up big numbers against the Celtics recently. So I'd give the Grizz a puncher's chance to catch the Celtics slipping. Sort of like the chances of Hayward coming back this season.
Thanks again to Jeff Nooney from Celtics Blog! Be sure to follow them for more insight on the Celtics as they take on the Grizzlies.