Memphis: 100.3 points/100 possessions (20th)
Boston: 100.3 points/100 possessions (20th)
Memphis: 96.6 points allowed/100 possessions (2nd)
Boston: 102.1 points allowed/100 possessions (14th)
Probable Memphis starters: Mike Conley (PG), Tony Allen (SG), Rudy Gay (SF), Zach Randolph (PF), and Marc Gasol (C)
View from opposing bench: 3 Shades of Blue
**The following post is written by Adam Lowenstein**
All Celtics fans can now rejoice because their supposed savior, Avery Bradley, will be returning Wednesday night to face the Grizzlies at TD Garden. The Celtics have been nearly unbeatable at home when Bradley has been on the floor. Since the beginning of the 2011-12 season, they have a 20-4 (.833) home regular season record when he has played at least 10 minutes. In addition, the Celtics’ overall regular season record when Bradley plays at least 10 minutes is 34-15 (.694). However, when he either plays fewer than 10 minutes or does not play at all, the Celtics have been 19-28 (.404) in the last two regular seasons.On the surface, the men in green have succeeded when Bradley has played a lot while they have not when he has been on the bench. The 2012-13 version of the Celtics have been inconsistent and have shown weaknesses in many areas. Coming home after a brutal road trip and getting back Bradley will not cure all of the Celtics’ ills thus far this season, but the team could show some signs of improvement on Wednesday against a Memphis team that has struggled recently.
After the Grizzlies came out of the gate running, they have lost five of their last seven road games, including New Year’s Eve when the Indiana Pacers outscored them 28-16 in the fourth quarter to get the five-point victory. The Grizzlies are among the best in the league defensively because they have one of the best starting frontcourts in Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, who are both in the top 40 of Player Efficiency Rating. Yet, Memphis recently gave up 121 points in a loss to the Rockets in Houston and has yet to win a game decided by five or fewer points in 2012-13. The Grizzlies have also had a worse shooting percentage than their opponent in each of their last five games. With the Celtics being 10-1 when holding opponents to fewer than 95 points this season, they should have a chance against the Grizzlies who have scored at least 95 points in only 13 of their 28 contests.
Unfortunately, Rajon Rondo is questionable with a hip bone injury that he suffered against the Los Angeles Clippers. While the Celtics are 23-16 in regular season games without Rondo since 2007-08, they are 1-3 this season and have seemed lost at times without their floor general.
If Rondo does not play, the Celtics have very little to no chance of winning. If Rondo does play, Bradley’s return gives the Celtics a boost, but it is not enough to beat the well-balanced Grizzlies. The Celtics move to 0-5 when playing on two days rest this season.
Grizzlies 97, Celtics 94
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