Behind a balanced attack and some clutch play down the stretch, the Celtics ran their winning streak to 11 games and finished off a 3-0 road trip with a 110-105 win at Memphis on Monday night.
In a game that featured 18 lead changes and 15 ties, the C’s went ahead to stay early in the fourth quarter on a Ray Allen layup and led by as many as eight in the closing moments. It was Allen who provided perhaps the biggest shot of the game when he buried a 3-pointer with 17 seconds left and the shot clock expiring for the final margin.
Allen was one of six Boston players in double figures, led by Paul Pierce with 19 points.
Memphis got 23 points from Rudy Gay, 21 from O.J. Mayo and 20 from Zach Randolph, but were just 1-of-13 from 3-point range, including 0-of-7 in the second half.
Celtics 110, Grizzlies 105
FedExForum, Memphis, Tenn.
Dec. 14, 2009
Live blog | Box score | Recap
Headliner: Allen’s clutch 3-pointer in the final minute made him 5-of-6 from the arc and saved the C’s from a real nail-biting finish. On the play, with Boston ahead by two, Paul Pierce attempted a pass out to Kevin Garnett at the elbow but it was deflected.
Allen raced to recover it, dribbled to the point and fired the shot as the shot-clock buzzer sounded. Memphis never got off a shot on its final possession.
It is the second time this month that Allen has made 5-of-6 3-pointers.
Unsung Hero: He had just one point in 12 minutes but Shelden Williams did a ton of dirty work for the C’s.
Four of Williams’ rebounds came on the offensive end and he kept alive two other possessions by tipping the ball to Tony Allen. One of those possessions led to a jumper by Tony Allen and another to a 3-pointer for Rasheed Wallace that made it 92-87 with nine minutes left.
Scrub: Since he was playing the second night of a back-to-back and had scored a career-high 41 points in Miami on Sunday, Rudy Gay was due to slow down a bit, but his second half was still pretty ugly.
Gay, who was 9-of-9 from the line in the first half, did not take a free throw after the break and had just three baskets. In a span of a few minutes of the third quarter he showed his fatigue by chucking up three straight 3-pointers which barely drew iron.
Turning Point: After Zach Randolph hit a jumper to give the Grizzlies a 73-69 lead midway through the third, Pierce and Ray Allen hit consecutive treys in a span of 33 seconds to put Boston ahead by two.
Although Memphis forged three ties thereafter, it never regained the lead.
Up Next: The Celts have earned themselves a cushy homestand, and they will get it starting Friday when they host Philadelphia, which just snapped a 12-game losing streak. Following that the 3-21 Minnesota Timberwolves and 8-14 Indiana Pacers come to town.