The first quarter was a lethargic one drained of pace and sense of urgency that one would expect from a team fighting for their spot in the playoffs. Turnovers, fouls and inefficient scoring were the story of the first half. A 2/12 start from the field and another poor shooting effort from behind the arc (0/6) contributed to the first quarter deficit but poor shooting from the Celtics kept it to a 24-17 game after one in Orlando.
The Boston Celtics are a top five defensive team in the NBA this season as they used their length to obstruct passing lanes and make life difficult for the Grizzlies in the paint deflecting a number of the floaters that have been instrumental in the Memphis offense this season. Although Memphis trailed by as much as 22, the Grizzlies were able to find some swagger and pace at the end of the second quarter getting some points in the fast break cutting the lead to 13 before a questionable foul call on Dillon Brooks on a Kemba Walker three at the end of the half extended the Celtics lead to 56-40.
Ja Morant made his presence felt on both ends obtaining a double-double before the end of the third quarter while obtaining blocks and steals on the defensive end acting as a spark plug for the Grizzlies. Brandon Clarke and Grayson Allen continued to be bright spots in the bubble on both ends while Gorgui Dieng played arguably his best game in Orlando thus far simply by being a presence down low for Memphis hustling on defense and grabbing rebounds. The Grizzlies went back and forth in the third quarter with the Celtics in what seemed like a one man show from Jayson Tatum but were still able to cut the lead to 10 thanks to a paint oriented offensive approach.
The third seed Boston Celtics did not ease up in the fourth leaving their starters in late into the game steadily increasing their lead. One of the major differences in the game being was the Celtics ability to make open threes as they dwarfed the Grizzlies effort from deep as the Celtics shot 43.2% to the Grizzlies 24.1%. The Grizzlies fought hard with no other substantial differences in team stats and a +7 turnover differential but the Jayson Tatum led Boston Celtics showed why they are a top five team team in the NBA as they put away the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies would fall to the Celtics 122-107 on Tuesday afternoon. The Grizzlies will be back in action on Thursday at 3 PM CT as they take on the Milwaukee Bucks in their final seeding game in Orlando with their play-in chances on the line.