In many ways, tonight felt like a celebration of everything the Grizzlies had done coming into this game. Ja Morant dominated the pre-game conversation on national television, and the Grizzlies themselves were the center of focus in a way that they never have been before. The problem was that they played like they were aware of that, as they almost trailed wire-to-wire in a 120-107 loss.
The first half was like watching a car wreck. The Grizzlies shot 35% from the field, and Ja was 3-14 from the field, but they somehow managed to only trail 47-45 at the break because the Celtics were also an offensive dumpster fire. They shot 40% and had 11 turnovers, which led to 14 points for the Grizzlies.
The Celtics, however, would find their offensive groove in the second half, as they shot 62%. Jayson Tatum in particular went supernova as he scored 18 of his 37 points in the 4th quarter, making the absence of Dillon Brooks all the more felt. Al Horford also had his best game of the season, posting 21 points and 15 rebounds.
Not everything was terrible for the Grizzlies. Ja Morant bounced back from an awful first half to score 30 in the second half, as he finished with 38 points and 7 assists. Desmond Bane also bounced back from a poor stretch of play, scoring 17 points on 6-14 shooting and 5-10 from three.
The Grizzlies will look to build on what they did right as they return home to play the Orlando Magic on Saturday night at 7.