The Boston Celtics put up a valiant effort while playing without both Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum against the Memphis Grizzlies, but were dealt a 132-126 overtime loss in their first of four straight road games.
Jeff Teague put together his best performance in a Celtics uniform as he scored 26 points on 10-for-12 shooting with six assists. Six of those 26 points came in the overtime period to help keep Boston in it. Jaylen Brown scored a team-high 27 points as five Celtics — Robert Williams (17), Marcus Smart (16) and Daniel Theis (13) — joined the pair in double figures.
The C’s played their best first half in quite some time, sharing the basketball well, but Memphis’ advantage inside (80-54 points in the paint) and key offensive rebounds (17-5 advantage) helped earn the hosts the win. Boston’s ball moment was a major reason the C’s were in it until the overtime as they assisted on 31 of their 47 baskets.
The Celtics, back below .500, fell to 21-22 while the Grizzlies improved to 20-20.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Jeff Teague
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Semi Ojeleye
C: Daniel Theis
The shorthanded Celtics started off well, hitting six first-quarter 3-pointers en route to a 30-24 advantage after the first.
Smart scored a team-high nine points in the first period, hitting three of his five attempts from long range.
Both Teague and Theis chipped in five points each while Brown chipped in four on 2-for-6 from the field.
The Celtics did so on the defensive end and in transition, too.
Boston shot 52% from the field (12-for-23) and 6-for-11 from deep. The C’s also assisted on nine of their 12 baskets. Memphis, meanwhile, shot 40% from the field (10-for-25) and 20% from long range (2-for-10).
SPREADING THE WEALTH
The Celtics put together a balanced scoring attack in the first half with three players in double figures — Teague (13), Smart (12) and Theis (10) — and it helped Boston take a 65-60 lead into the half.
Ironically, despite playing without two of their best offensive players, the C’s looked as good as they have in weeks on that end of the floor. It perhaps was best depicted as they recorded 17 assists on 23 made baskets. There were games when Boston finished with 14 or 15 assists this season.
The Grizzlies did, however, dominate Boston in the paint by outscoring the C’s 44-20. Robert Williams had seven points off the bench, though.
Boston was also aided by the fact it continued its scorching hot outside shooting from Sunday. The Celtics were 12-for-19 from beyond the arc (63%) while shooting 56% from the field overall (23-for-41). Memphis increased its shooting clip to 53%, but was just 4-for-15 from 3-point range.
MEMPHIS RALLIES BACK
The Grizzlies opened the quarter on a 14-4 run, and that, along with their continued dominance in the paint, allowed them to take a 94-86 lead into the fourth quarter.
Ja Morant scored 21 points through three quarters and helped Memphis take a nine-point lead, 81-72, just over six minutes into the quarter.
Boston was 3-for-9 from long range and 8-for-22 overall in the quarter.
Brown scored 10 of his 17 points in the third quarter while Robert Williams gave the Celtics a fifth player to score double figures.
HEADED TO OT
The Celtics turned it over the final six minutes of regulation, overcoming what was a nine-point deficit in forcing overtime while tied 117-117.
Brown and Robert Williams combined to score 10 straight points for the C’s, as they cut the Grizzlies’ lead to 110-107 with three minutes left.
Teague later tied it up at 111-all with 1:45 left before a Theis alley-oop from Smart tied it at 117 with seven seconds left.
Morant missed a pull-up jumper at the buzzer to send it to extra time.
GRIZZLIES PULL IT OUT
Grayson Allen hit a 3-pointer to put the Grizzlies up 124-119 after Memphis hauled in a 16th offensive rebound with 2:30 left in OT. Dillion Brooks put Memphis up six on a traditional three-point play.
Teague scored three buckets in overtime, the third of which cut it to 127-125 with 1:15 left. Kyle Anderson and Morant, though, put the closing touches on the win.
End of game stats:
Boston shot 52% (47-for-90) from the field and 49% (17-for-35) from beyond the arc.
Memphis shot 50% from the field (55-for-110) and 34% from long range (12-for-35).
Memphis held a 54-43 advantage in rebounds and a 38-31 edge in assists.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Another night, another Rob lob.
The Celtics now travel to the Milwaukee Bucks for a two-game series starting Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET.