What started as a close game through the first quarter ended up being a massive blowout. The Boston Celtics played hungry, and showed up as the more experienced team. Everyone thought the Los Angeles Lakers-win high would wear off. Instead it did the complete opposite as the Celtics tame the Memphis Grizzlies 119-95.
In the first quarter, the Grizzlies looked like they were in for a battle. Jaren Jackson Jr was all over the floor, hitting three’s and blocking shots. Jonas Valanciunas was able to assert himself as well. Midway through the second quarter they were keeping that intensity, going up 42-35. However, that would be the last time the Grizzlies would show up.
For the next six minutes, the Celtics went on a ridiculous 21-0 run. 10 of those points came from Jayson Tatum, who was starting to get hot since the beginning of the second. Daniel Theis also hit two three’s within that run, and they found themselves up 14 at half. By the time the third quarter started, the lead got as big as 30.
The defense was the story of this game though, the Celtics imposed their will. Grizzlies got punched in the gut, and had no response. Rookie sensation Ja Morant was held to two points on 1/5 from the field. Dillon Brooks was held to six points and Jackson Jr had 13 points on 15 shots. The Celtics team as a whole swarmed and forced 16 turnovers. The entire starting each had at least one steal, and had a plus-minus of +25.
The player of the game had to be Tatum, who is finding is shot as the games go on. He isn’t just a scorer though, he is a force on defense and figuring the game out as a whole. He getting Theis among others wide open shots, whether they fell in or not. He did have a scary groin injury in the third quarter, so that’s something to watch.
Six guys scored in double-digits; one of those guys does not include Kemba Walker who struggled to find his shot. He started off the game 0/7 from the field before finally hitting a pair three’s. However, his lack of scoring didnt hurt the team as he ended with two steals and blocks, along with four assists. Walker’s game on the Celtics has gone beyond shooting three’s.
The Celtics improve to 29-14 as they go on the road to Orlando to face the Magic. The Celtics fell to fourth in the East after months at the top, but games like these are helping them stay in the top four.