In their last meeting on December 29th, the Grizzlies built up a 19 point lead, only to watch Kyrie Irving and Al Horford lead the Celtics back to steal the victory 112-103 at FedExForum. Friday night was a little different as the Grizzlies and Celtics each used big runs until Boston finally took over late.
Boston used excellent ball movement early to catch the Grizzlies defense out of position often and go up five midway through the first, 16-11. After the three by Marcus Smart to get that lead, Boston missed their next 7 in a row while the Grizzlies scored 11 straight. Omri Casspi was a big catalyst in this stretch, with a dunk, a three, and a block to force a Boston timeout with Memphis up 22-16.
In typical Grizzlies fashion as of late, Boston stormed right back with a 7-0 run of their own to take the lead right back. Memphis took the lead back but it was short-lived as Boston scored another 12 straight, for a 19-2 run to end the first and lead 35-24.
Casspi, JaMychal Green, and Shelvin Mack would spark a 10-2 run early in the second to close the Boston lead down to 44-36. While Mike Conley started the second on the floor, the starters would soon come back in, and Jaren Jackson Jr. quickly went back to the bench with his third foul with about 5:00 left in the quarter.
The Grizzlies kept chipping away at the Boston lead and would get it down to just three at 49-46 on back-to-back threes from Conley and Garrett Temple. Back-to-back shots down low from Green tied things back up before back-to-back Justin Holiday threes put Memphis back into the lead 58-54. Memphis would hold that four-point lead going into the halftime break 62-58.
Memphis outscored Boston by 15 in the second led by nine points from Green and Conley, while Holiday had eight of his own. Both teams hit seven threes in the first half, but Memphis attempted eight less treys. The two teams made the same number of total shots in the first half with the difference coming a the charity stripe with Memphis taking and making four more free throws.
Now, tell me if this sounds familiar...the Grizzlies started the third quarter in a rut, and Boston scored the first seven to go up 65-62. Two quick Conley threes jumped Memphis back into the lead 68-65. Irving got hot in the third, scoring 13 points in the first 6:30 of the quarter.
The Celtics overall got a bit warmer from the floor and took a six-point lead into the last 3:00 of the third. Irving would add another seven in the period to give him 30 for the game and the Celtics a five-point, 96-91 lead.
Casspi brought his energy into the fourth, scoring five of their first eight and a rebound in the first couple minutes of the quarter. Each time the Grizzlies got close, Boston would keep pulling back away. Memphis would close it down to two or three and Boston would shoot back out to a five or seven point lead.
Memphis entered the final two minutes down seven with the ball and Jaren threw one down with authority to make it 115-110 but Irving went right back down and drilled a three. From there, Boston closed out the game top get the victory
Irving led all scorers with 38 points to go along with his 11 assists and 7 rebounds. Horford had 18 points while Smart added 20.
Conley got his offense a little back on track with 26 points while Jackson had his eighth 20 point game of the season with 23. Marc Gasol only had four points but still had a double-double with 12 assists and 11 rebounds. Mack had 15 points with seven assists and Holiday had his best game as a Grizzly with 14 points, six rebounds, and four steals.
Overall, six Grizzlies scored in double figures.
After falling to a 19-26 record, Memphis gets right back to it Saturday, traveling to Toronto to face Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors at Scotiabank Arena at 6:30 pm central.