clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Boston Celtics Game Preview

Can the Memphis Grizzlies continue their winning ways as the Boston Celtics come to town?

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Memphis Grizzlies v Boston Celtics Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

WHO: Memphis Grizzlies (7-3, 4-0 home) vs. Boston Celtics (6-3, 3-2 away)

WHEN: 8:00 PM CT

WHERE: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN

HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Bally Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis

INJURY REPORT:

MEMPHIS: Ziaire Williams (Out, Patellar Tendinitis) Jaren Jackson Jr. (Out, Right Foot Surgery Recovery), Danny Green (Out, Left Knee Surgery Recovery), Kenneth Lofton Jr. (Out, Two-Way G-League Assignment)

BOSTON: Danilo Gallinari (Out, ACL), Robert Williams (Out, Knee Surgery Recovery), Luke Kornet (Out, Personal), JD Davison (Out, Two-Way G-League Assignment)

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:

MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, Santi Aldama, Steven Adams

BOSTON: Marcus Smart, Derrick White, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford

The Memphis Grizzlies are finishing off their 3rd home game in 4 nights, looking to push their winning streak to 4 games. After disappointing showings in Utah, the Grizzlies have shored up their defense — giving up less than 100 points in each of the past 2 games.

It’s definitely an encouraging sign to see them flip the switch with their urgency and execution on that side of the floor.

Their opposition tonight will be a big test for their recent defensive efforts, as the Boston Celtics — an NBA Finals team — comes to town. They are currently pacing the league in scoring, tallying up 118.8 points per game.

Can the defense continue playing with fortitude and pristine execution?


Defend the 3

The Memphis Grizzlies have recently defended the 3 better, after giving up 38 three’s across 2 games in Utah. In November, the Grizzlies are 6th in opponent 3-point makes per game (9.7) and 4th in opponent 3-point percentage (28.7).

The Boston Celtics provide a massive test in their 3-point defense, as they are leading the NBA in 3-point attempt rate — as 47.3 percent of their shots are coming from long range, and they’re making a league-best 16 triples per game.

They have a plethora of avenues for firing from downtown. They have the isolation prowess from Jayson Tatum, who’s continuing to expand on his mid-range package. They deploy a potent dribble-drive attack around playmakers like Tatum, Marcus Smart, and Malcolm Brogdon — generating open looks from downtown.

The Grizzlies will need to make sure their rotations are consistent, crisp, and disciplined. The Celtics have shown they could punish teams from beyond the arc — drilling 27 three’s in their last game. If the Grizzlies revert to their struggles from the West Coast road trip, then there will be some downtown rain in the forecast.


Fatigue

The Memphis Grizzlies are playing their 3rd game in 4 nights. Granted, there’s a bright sight to this stretch as opposed to most slates like this one. They haven’t had to travel, which bodes better for their rest and recovery.

Because of this factor, it’s going to be interesting to see how they navigate and fare this game.

Will the fatigue set in? If so, what does that do for the rotation and for player availability?

Steven Adams and Ja Morant already went to the locker room for different injuries. Adams turned his ankle, and he told reporters it was … rough — to keep it PG.

If their last “3 games in 4 nights” stretch serves as any indication, then fatigue will pose a big roadblock for the Grizzlies’ efforts.


The Memphis Grizzlies are back to playing their standard of basketball with great defense, ball movement, and transition play. The Boston Celtics are also the toughest opposition they’ve faced all season.

For the reasons above, particularly fatigue, it’s harder to envision a win in this game.

Final score prediction: Boston - 115, Grizzlies - 108

Make sure you listen to our newest podcast ‘Grizzly Bear Bets’ for betting guidance for every single Grizzlies game this season.

For more Grizzlies talk, subscribe to the Grizzly Bear Blues podcast network on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and IHeart. Follow Grizzly Bear Blues on Twitter and Instagram.