For the second night in a row the Boston Celtics put up a less than a stellar performance, but this time they didn’t pay for it.
The C’s beat the Memphis Grizzlies 102-93 Saturday night at FedExForum.
Trailing 73-71 entering the fourth quarter, the Celtics opened up the final period on a 16-0 run, burying a Grizzlies team that had erased a 21-point Boston lead that was built when the C’s outscored the Grizzlies 31-12 in the first period.
Jayson Tatum played one of the best games of his young career, putting up 19 points with nine rebounds, two steals, two blocks and an assist. Kyrie Irving (20 points), Al Horford (15 points), Aron Baynes (13 points), Marcus Smart (11 points) and Terry Rozier (10 points) all posted double figures as well.
The Celtics climbed to 25-7 with the win, while the Grizzlies fell to 8-21.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Al Horford
C: Aron Baynes
CELTICS OPEN UP STRONG
The Celtics wasted no time opening up a lead against Memphis, finishing the frame leading 31-12. After a Friday night where scoring was sparse and largely confined to just a few players, everyone on the floor contributed, with four of five starters scoring at least six points.
Boston was equally sound on the defensive end, letting the Grizzlies get up just a few quality looks while ultimately holding them to 22.2 percent shooting from the field. The Celtics also forced five turnovers in the frame with a pair of steals and blocks.
SECOND QUARTER UNKIND TO BOSTON … AGAIN
Boston took a 19 point lead into the second quarter against a team in absolute shambles, but again the second quarter proved to be a stretch of appalling basketball for the Celtics. By quarter’s end, they were outscored 28-17 and saw their lead cut to eight heading into the locker room.
Memphis began the quarter on a 10-3 run before Brad Stevens called a timeout 3:21 into the stanza to try and stop the bleeding.
Because of the comeback the Grizzlies were mounting, Stevens was unable to go deep into his bench, rather having to play his starters and Marcus Smart as a sixth man for the majority of the half.
GRIZZLIES TAKE OVER IN THE THIRD
The third quarter served as a realization of the fear the Celtics created with their lackluster second period. A lead as large as 21 was erased by the 4:02 mark in the third, and with 49 seconds to play in the quarter, the Grizzlies took their first lead since the opening period.
After watching Memphis tie things up, the Celtics went on a 9-0 run of their own over 2:35 in the middle of the period, but by the end, Boston trailed by two.
A large contributor to the problem was Marc Gasol, who dropped a trio of 3-pointers the final two minutes of the period.
FOURTH QUARTER RUN GIVES C’S THE WIN
The Celtics opened up the first 4:48 of the fourth quarter on a 16-0 run and never let the Grizzlies back in it.
A fusion of good ball movement, quality shooting and stout defense overwhelmed a Memphis team that Boston should have been dominating the whole night. The Grizzlies would pull no closer than seven points for the rest of the game.
Starters still played into the closing stages of the game, however, with Stevens not taking any chances with the lead as Memphis continued to threaten.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME
Jayson Tatum: An impressive dunker.
The Celtics will play their second and final game of the road trip in Indiana against the Pacers on Monday. Tip-off from Bankers Life Fieldhouse is scheduled for 7 p.m ET.
Thumbnail photo via Nelson Chenault/USA TODAY Sports Images.
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