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Game 70/82: Grizzlies (39-32) @ Celtics (50-19): Open Thread

 

Is it just me, or does Z-Bo kinda look like Antoine Walker in this picture?

Memphis at Boston
TD Garden
7:30 PM
CSN

Offensive Efficiency

Memphis: 103.9 points/100 possessions (17th)
Boston: 104.7 points/100 possessions (13th)

Defensive Efficiency

Memphis: 102.9 points allowed/100 possessions (10th)
Boston: 97.5 points allowed/100 possessions (2nd)

Probable Memphis starters: Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Sam Young, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol

View from opposing bench: 3 Shades of Blue

Thumbnail: The Celtics look to keep pace with the Chicago Bulls, who continued their impressive run last night by blowing out the Hawks 114-81 on their own court. Chicago has the half-game lead atop the Eastern Conference, although the two teams still remain tied in the loss column.

As for tonight’s opponent, the Grizzlies are one of the surprise stories in the NBA this year. Currently, they are hanging on to the 8th spot in the Western Conference (although this might be more of a reflection on the decline of the Suns, Jazz and Rockets than it is on the Grizzlies’ development). Unfortunately for the Grizz, the team recently received the official word that Rudy Gay will have shoulder surgery and is done for the season, making their trade-deadline acquisition of Shane Battier all that more important.

WHAT THE GRIZZLIES DO WELL:

Score inside: The Grizzlies lead the NBA in points in the paint, averaging over 50 per game, more than 5 points better than the next-best LA Clippers in this category. The Grizzlies’ post-play is led by one of the league’s best offensive big men, Zach Randolph (20.1 ppg), and complimented by Marc Gasol (11.6 ppg), who isn’t too bad, either. With the absence of Gay from the lineup, the Grizzlies’ offense has run through the post even more in recent games. In its last two games, for example, Memphis has averaged 66 points from the painted area.

WHAT THE GRIZZLIES DO POORLY:

Shoot the 3: Memphis is 29th in the league in 3-point shooting, averaging 33% from beyond the arc. But at least they know this about themselves…they consequently shoot fewer 3-pointers than any other team in the league. However, without Gay, the Grizzlies offense can become very one-dimensional if they don’t have shooters to stretch the floor. Good thing they didn’t try to trade OJ Mayo a few weeks ago…oh wait.

WHICH GRIZZLIES’ PLAYERS MAKE ME WORRY:

He's baaaaaaaaack

Randolph: Having his best season in a contract year.

Tony Allen? In the past 10 games, TA is averaging 13 ppg and shooting 53% from the field. And he has the athleticism and defensive capabilities to give Ray Allen some trouble. I’m not saying that stopping TA is the key to success for the Celtics’ tonight. But none of the Grizzlies’ other SG’s or SF’s give me any anxiety (Battier, Young, Mayo). If Allen starts running loose and feeling confident in terms of getting to the rim, he can be a big spark for his team. We’ve seen it done before.

WHICH GRIZZLIES’ PLAYER DOES NOT MAKE ME WORRY:

Mike Conley. After a tremendous start to the season, Conley has cooled off a bit. Granted, he’s still having a nice year, with his totals at 13.9 ppg and 6.7 assists. And at 38% from 3-point range, he remains a potential deep threat for opposing defenses. But I love the matchup for Rajon Rondo. After an impressive performance in New York on Monday, Rondo has a chance to carry that momentum forward tonight. Rondo recorded 11 points and 17 assists in the Celtics’ 116-110 victory in Memphis back in November. And I think he dominates Conley tonight, particularly on the defensive end of the floor.

WHAT WE WANT TO SEE FROM BOSTON:

An early lead! Which means execution right from the opening tip-off. The Grizzlies have some decent defensive matchups tonight (TA on Allen, Battier on Pierce), so ball-movement will be the key, and that all starts with Rondo.

PREDICTION: Boston 105, Memphis 96. If this game was on the road, I might be singing a different tune. I really like the way Memphis has been playing recently. But the mere fact that this game is at home should be enough for the Celtics.

  • Dan

    I think you underrate Conley. As a Celtics fan who watches a lot of Grizzlies games, what he brings definitely doesn't show up on the stat sheet. He's one of the guys that +/- was made for, they play much better with him out there than on the pine, even if he's not lighting up the stat sheet.

  • kricky

    Man I still wish we had somehow gotten Battier to fill that Tony Allen role. How Ironic that both of them end up on a team that's going nowhere.

  • Morpheus

    I think the starters will come out hot tonight and the bench will finish em off.

    Fakers and Bulls are right there behind us. Can't afford to let them get ahead of us.

    GO BOSTON.

  • Mike

    Steve Javie as one of tonight's refs makes me cringe… Hopefully KG will contain Randolph, especially on the boards and you know Tony Allen will try to show off tonight =P

  • Dan

    No doubt that when it comes to $50 mil dollar point guards, I'd rather have Rondo.

    Statistically he's playing a bit better without Gay – really that's why his stats from the start of the year took a dip, since with Gay out for the first few weeks he really excelled. My best guess is that he gets to dominate the ball a bit more with Tony Allen in place of Rudy Gay.

    It'll be an interesting matchup between them, though the Grizzlies will probably try to pound it inside as much as possible, as Randolph on paper is a really bad matchup for the C's. Think what Al Jefferson did in that Utah game.

  • kricky

    Nice to see Leon out there. Why didn't we sign him? Oh right, we really needed to keep a roster spot open for Troy Murphy.

  • I_Love_Green

    Thank you Ray Ray

  • Far East Man

    Stop shooting BBD!!!!

  • Mike

    Rondo is just stagnating the offense right now, as Tommy points out. He just dribbles there for 20 secs and then ''shoots''…

  • Far East Man

    Stupid Rondo!

  • kricky

    Why is RR taking these shots? Decision making at the end of this one has just been atrocious.

    Too bad cuz he's haivng ga good game.

  • Mike

    Rondo for the win….

  • Mike

    You have gotta be kiddin me….. you have gotta be kiddin me….

  • GREENMAN

    this game is mind-boggling. down 1 with 24 seconds to go & rondo bricks a runner in the lane. and now baby jacks a 3 with 5 seconds left down 3???? Dont expect to win any games win Rondo leads the team in FGA's.

  • GREENMAN

    p.s. LEON POWE > troy "wets himself when he touches the ball" murphy

  • WTF

    How do the Cs win the title this season if they keep playing like this? They are right on the border between good and bad, not a title contender, not even elite anymore. Title contender does not lose to the teams like Mem, Det, Tor, Phi, etc… .

  • Zee

    That was an ill-advised by Rondo in my opinion. Cost us the game. There was plenty of time on the clock to get a much better look. Nor was I pleased with Davis shooting the three pointer. There was 10 seconds left on the clock. What a let down.

  • Jason

    What was Doc thinking? Why did he have Rondo and Davis on the floor when they needed a three? Is there no one else who can pass the ball along the perimeter but Rondo? And what was Davis supposed to do there? Why have Delonte and Green on the team at all?

    The problem with Rondo being on the floor AT ALL in end of game situations is that 1) a team can foul him 2) teams play so far off him that it's hard to find shooters 3) because they play so far off him, he ends of shooting, like in Dallas or he gives the ball to Davis who loves hero threes. Dammit.

  • CsFanInArkansas

    …this is pretty frustrating…

    Memphis Grizz….minus their best player…at the Garden…in the home stretch of the regular season…tight race for #1…leading in the 4th…

  • WTF

    They should not have been in the last shot situation in this game. How many offensive rebounds did the Mem have?

  • Morpheus

    Agreed

  • Morpheus

    FUCK THAT…..now we're looking UP at the Lakers and Bulls……BULLSHIT.

    Rebounding effort was non existent tonight.

    Doc should have gone with Delonte towrds the end of the 4th….HORRIBLE decision leaving Rondo in.

  • Mike

    Well since Danny loves trades so much I just hope as soon as Chris Paul becomes available next year, he trades Rondo for him….

    • kricky

      Last year I would have sent you to hell for even thinking that. But I'm torn on this right now.

    • ElRoz

      I would not shed one tear over Rondo….if Boston can get: either Paul or Williams I'd love it.But unlikely to happen. I'd take Nash over Rondo as well, but the age thing.
      Well, Rondo wants to dish out dimes, but he has gotten WORSE not better at scoring.

    • Morpheus

      OH PLEASE GOD YES….

  • kricky

    We are soft on the glass. Randolph, Gasol and even T Allen were bullying their way to good positon inside every time. Down the stretch we gave up 2nd chance opportunities every frigging time. There is NOTHING worse than giving up offensive rebounds.

    If we don't get one of the O'Neals back soon and playing good minutes we will have a tough time even getting out of the 1st round.

  • Jason

    One of the sequences that I thought cost them the game came in the last two minutes of the third. The Celtics were up 6 and had all the momentum. They had three fast break opportunities off misses and Rondo blew them all. One time he shot, another time he saw it fit to post up Krstic (why?) and then he led Delonte all the way to the endline where Delonte could do nothing. A good point guard finds Pierce on transition threes. He does not dribble the ball all the way up the court and give it to Krstic in for a post up. No.

    Another thing, why in this important game, did Doc play a lineup of Delonte-Green-Sasha-Krstic-Rondo for the first 4 minutes of the fourth quarter when the game was tight? Why?

    This is one of the worst coaching games I've seen. Personally, I don't think the team wins because of him. They win because of the players and because of Thibodeau's defensive philosophy. Previously Doc had the Celtics switching all the time. I can't wait for another coach who won't put the ball in Rondo's hands so he can shoot the ball at the end of quarters.

    • Dropstep

      Of course the coach is responsible for all the losses and the players responsible for all the wins. It couldn't possibly be that they share responsibility for success and failure.

  • ElRoz

    Just more proof folks….decide who you're going to root for in the fianls, Bulls or the Heat…it shuld not be the Lakers of course.

    #3 seed awaits Boston …Doc and the "big three" disappoint again. They needed the game, they need the home court since they cannot get the 4th win on the road (1-9), and the "capain" Pierce syas they need the home court…and then they go out and cannot get the job done. If you want to know how a team plays when it wants home court, look at the Bulls and the Lakers.

  • Jason

    Three big reasons why they suck on offense: 1) turnovers 2) Davis 3) Rondo. Yes I included Rondo. A team is not going to score a lot of points if they have players like Davis and Rondo, who both have atrocious TS% and eFG of 50 and 45, shooting the ball a lot. It's simple math. If Deron, Paul or Nash were on this team, this offense would rock. Pierce and Ray are two of the most efficient scorers in basketball but two guys who are amongst the least efficient use up a ton of the offense.

    What's the african word for rudderless unselfishness?

  • I_BLEED_GREEN

    I'll take mike conley over rondo any day of the week…

  • Morpheus

    I'm seriously thinking about trading Rondo in the off season.

    • Dropstep

      Danny, is that you?

  • Dropstep

    Sucks to lose this. Rondo's shooting was bad. Terrible. I was hoping that Knicks game was the start of a return to form but tonight was not good. The offense is suffering and he still played 40 minutes. Starters all played too many minutes. Troy Murphy plays four minutes and gives the ball up two times while doing little else. Big Baby with that three…well after the Hornets game, he did say that he would take the shot again. I doubt the Bulls will let go of the #1 seed now but I have always been more concerned with the way the team is playing and they are not playing well right now. They need to figure it out quickly and try to finish the season with some momentum.

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