Boston has won 11 straight, eight in a row on the road and earns three days of rest. It is the first team in the NBA to reach 20 wins and has a soft three-game homestand coming up, beginning Friday against Philadelphia.
The C’s got six players between 13 and 19 points, led by Paul Pierce.
The Grizzlies, who are maybe a defender or two away from taking that next step, were led by Rudy Gay’s 23 points.
Some other notable numbers:
– Boston hits 10-of-20 3-pointers. Memphis hit 1-of-13.
– There were 18 lead changes and 15 ties.
We will be courtside Friday night at TD Garden. See you then.
Fourth quarter, 17.5 seconds, Celtics 110-105: I believe the Grizzlies had a foul to give there, but wasted the opportunity to make it and instead saw Ray Allen bury a dagger 3-pointer.
Of course, Allen had to rush it after picking up a deflection, but still, Memphis would’ve been better served fouling Pierce with about 22 seconds left, five on the shot clock and with their defense set.
Either way, a clutch shot by Allen makes him 5-of-6 from 3-point range and gives him 18 points.
Fourth quarter, 48.5 seconds, Celtics 107-103: Man, there are some soft defenders on the Grizzlies.
Paul Pierce dribbled away from two guys, around another and made it a two-possession game with a huge basket.
Fourth quarter, 1:04, Celtics 105-103: Kendrick Perkins, a game after I wrote about him cutting back on his fouls, has fouled out.
Fourth quarter, 1:29, Celtics 103-101: O.J. Mayo is killing the C’s here down the stretch.
Mayo has six points in the last two-plus minutes and his jumper in Rajon Rondo’s face pulls the Grizzlies back within a basket.
I like Rondo dribble penetration here.
Fourth quarter, 3:47, Celtics 99-95: Just a quick note on Rajon Rondo’s night.
Rondo had averaged 5.0 points on 9-of-29 shooting in his last four games against Memphis.
He is 7-of-10 from the floor in this one, has 16 points and needs one assist for his fourth straight double-double.
Fourth quarter, 5:15, Celtics 99-93: Sure enough, just as Rajon Rondo gets back in the game, the Celtics grab momentum.
Rondo first finds Kendrick Perkins for an easy two and then breaks down the Grizzlies defense by penetrating all the way underneath and firing the ball to the point, where Eddie House was all alone for two.
The six-point lead is the largest of the game for either team.
Fourth quarter, 6:30, Celtics 94-93: The Grizzlies have bent a few times but the Celtics cannot break them.
Boston has built up a five-point lead on a few occasions. The latest bulge was cut to one on consecutive baskets by Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph.
It is time for Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett to return.
Fourth quarter, 8:49, Celtics 92-87: He won’t get a lot of credit if the Celtics hang on and win this one but Shelden Williams deserves some for his efforts.
In 10 minutes Williams has five rebounds and four have come on the offensive end. In addition, he just kept alive another Boston miss before Tony Allen was able to come up with a loose basketball.
That led to Rasheed Wallace’s 3-pointer.
End of third quarter, Celtics 85-81: Ray Allen finds Tony Allen for a hoop with 0.4 seconds left and the C’s head to the fourth with a four-point lead.
I don’t have anything at the ready to support this but the Celts have been remarkable on end-of-quarter possessions, scoring often with just ticks remaining or at the buzzer.
Might be worth looking up sometime.
For now, Boston really needs about five solid minutes of defense to take this one, because Memphis simply is not stopping the Green on the other end. And we mentioned how atrocious the Grizzlies are from long range. If you can force them to play catch-up you’re in great shape.
Third quarter, 1:44, Celtics 82-77: Quite a sequence there as Ray Allen hits a 3-pointer to give Boston its largest lead.
Kevin Garnett had a shot blocked moments earlier and the Grizzlies were heading the other way before Rajon Rondo made a clean strip from behind, turned and found Allen on the wing.
As an aside, I mentioned earlier that Paul Pierce has been known to make halftime adjustments and buckle down on defense in the second half. Rudy Gay has just two points in the second half after scoring 17, mostly on Pierce, in the first. He has also taken three of the ugliest 3-pointers you will ever see.
Third quarter, 3:30, Celtics 79-77: Just to show how incredibly close this game has been, it has been a one-possession affair since the nine-minute mark of the second quarter.
Third quarter, 4:41, Celtics 75-73: One of the big differences between these teams coming in was 3-point shooting and Boston just took the lead again on back-to-back treys by Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.
The C’s entered averaging 6.7 3-pointers per game, while the Grizzlies make just 3.6, 28th in the league.
Boston has seven in this one, compared to just one for the hosts.
Third quarter, 6:57, 69-69: There have been 18 lead changes in this one already.
After Rajon Rondo’s two free throws we have a 12th tie.
Third quarter, 9:03, Celtics 64-63: The Rajon Rondo-Kevin Garnett eye contact was made, which often leads to an alley-oop.
This time Garnett was fouled as well and made the free throw to put Boston on top again.
The tandem leads the league in alley-oops, we were just told.
Third quarter, 11:20, Grizzlies 57-56: Kevin Garnett gets the first two for the Celtics in the second half.
Garnett was limited to just two points in the first half.
Halftime, Grizzlies 55-54: Rajon Rondo has 12 points after a basket in the closing seconds, but Mike Conley answers for the Grizzlies, who end a see-saw half with a one-point lead.
The Celtics have had a lot of games like this against younger units of late, where they seem to have a “feeling out” process in the first half and then take charge, particularly on the defensive end, after the break.
Boston’s bench has been busy. Rasheed Wallace has abused Zach Randolph for 10 points and Eddie House, who averages just over six shots per game, is already 3-of-5 and has seven points. Paul Pierce has 11 points.
Some other notable first-half numbers:
– The Celtics made 5-of-12 3-pointers. The Grizzlies made 1-of-6
– Memphis was 14-of-16 at the line. Boston was 5-of-7.
– The Grizzlies had just two turnovers. The low for a Celtics opponent this season is 10, set by Indiana on Nov. 14.
Let’s see if Doc Rivers makes the second-half adjustments to slow down Rudy Gay (17 points) and force Memphis into a few more mistakes. The Grizz entered the game fourth in the NBA in turnovers per game at 15.2.
Second quarter, 3:41, Celtics 47-45: Rajon Rondo scores to give the C’s their first lead of the second quarter.
They are on a 19-12 run overall.
Rondo, by the way, has made 15 of his last 21 free throws after opening the season 4-of-16. He can finish a three-point play at the line after the break.
Second quarter, 3:48, 45-45: Unless I missed a quick substitution it appears as if Rudy Gay has played the entire first half thus far.
He is 9-of-9 from the free throw line, compared the Celts, who are 4-of-4 as a team.
Gay has actually struggled a bit on the stripe this season, entering at 69.9 percent.
Second quarter, 6:13, Grizzlies 42-41: Until recently neither Paul Pierce nor Rudy Gay had left this game and it is shaping up to be the matchup to watch.
Pierce finally got a break but Gay remains out there with his 15 points.
A few games ago Pierce had some issues guarding Kevin Durant, the budding star in Oklahoma City.
But Pierce made some halftime adjustments and dominated Durant on the defensive end after the break.
Something to watch for going forward.
Second quarter, 9:38, Grizzlies 34-30: The Celtics have one basket in the last five minutes, 39 seconds, have allowed the Grizzlies to shoot 58 percent and are still within four points.
A couple of great hustle plays by Shelden Williams before the break as he grabs two straight offensive boards and calls timeout after he is taken to the floor and nearly lost the ball.
End of first quarter, Grizzlies 31-28: The Grizzlies close the first on a 9-2 run and Rudy Gay remains hot after a career night in Miami on Sunday.
Gay, who scored 41 in a rout of the Heat, has 11 points, three rebounds and two assists in the first 12 minutes.
His counterpart, Paul Pierce, leads the C’s with eight points.
Memphis’s 31 points represents the most scored against the C’s in the first quarter this season. It shot 65 percent (13-of-20) and had eight assists against just one turnover.
Looks like the C’s will be up against it on the defensive end of things.
First quarter, 2:56, Celtics 26-22: There’s a whole lot of UConn going on out there.
Ray Allen, Rudy Gay and Hasheem Thabeet give Connecticut 30 percent of the players on the floor right now.
The rookie Thabeet missed time earlier this year with a broken jaw. Expect Rasheed Wallace to pull him out of the lane by lingering around the arc a bit.
First quarter, 3:50, Celtics 24-22: Just as I give Rajon Rondo a little love he is whistled for his second foul.
Doc Rivers will stick with him for another minute or so before he goes to Eddie House.
First quarter, 4:56, Celtics 21-16: They are letting them play here early and the first quarter is flying.
And as the clock dwindles the shots are flying up on both ends. The teams have combined for 23 shots already and nine of the 10 starters are in the scoring column.
By the way, the superlatives continue to mount for Rajon Rondo, who is already 3-of-3 from the floor and has two assists.
He has actually struggled in his career against the Grizzlies but is on a great streak right now. We’ll take a closer look a little later on.
First quarter, 8:52, Celtics 9-8: Great ball movement on a few possessions early on here for the Celtics as they erupt for seven straight points.
The Grizzlies respond with back-to-back hoops.
First quarter, 11:55, 0-0: We are underway and just to get you thinking about the Celtics’ road dominance, here are a few numbers.
The C’s 11-1 road start puts them on pace to top the best road record in franchise history, set at 32-9 by the 1974-75 team.
That unit was 11-2 after 13 games. Boston enters this one 11-1 away from home.
The NBA’s best all-time road record belongs to the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, who went 31-7 on the road (there were a few neutral site games) en route to a 69-13 mark. They won a record 16 straight away from home in that season and were 12-1 through 13 road games.
7:45 p.m.: Just a few minutes from tip at FedExForum and the starting lineups are in.
The Celtics go with the usual five of Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins, who are now 104-28 as a starting five.
The Grizzlies go with Mike Conley and O.J. Mayo at guard, Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph at forward, and Marc Gasol underneath.
One thing to keep an eye on in this one is the rebounding battle. The C’s have notably allowed a ton of second chances at times this season, including 16 in Saturday’s win over Chicago. Well, Memphis is the top offensive rebounding team in the league, led by Randolph, who leads the NBA with 4.7 offensive boards per game.
It might not happen tonight, but Allen is 35 points from tying Tom Chambers at 32nd on the all-time NBA scoring list.
On another milestone note, Doc Rivers is going for his 250th win as the Celtics coach. Only three others have reached that mark on the Green’s sideline.
2:20 p.m.: For the second time this month, the Celtics look to finish off a road trip with a perfect record when they visit the Memphis Grizzlies.
We will be watching all the action at FedExForum so check back before the 8 p.m. tip.
Streaks abound for the red-hot C’s (19-4). They have won 10 straight overall, seven in a row on the road, five consecutive against the Grizzlies and the first two of their current three-game swing.
Boston became the first team in the NBA to reach 19 wins with Saturday’s 106-80 rout in Chicago. Rajon Rondo led seven players in double figures with 16 points and handed out 14 assists for his third straight double-double and 11th this season.
Memphis (10-13) has been playing much better after a 1-8 start and is coming off a 118-90 win in Miami on Sunday. Rudy Gay broke out for a career-high 41 points and Marc Gasol was 7-of-7 in a 16-point, 15-rebound night.
In Gay, Zach Randolph and O.J. Mayo, the Grizzlies have the only trio in the NBA in which each player averages at least 17 points per game.
However, the C’s have won three straight in Memphis and the Grizzlies are 0-5 on the second night of a back-to-back.