Boston’s next stop on their month long tour of the US is Memphis. The Celtics will look to string together a three game win streak, as they take on one of the league’s better teams. Boston has won a lot of their games against teams in the bottom half of the standings. Tonight, they will look to notch a W against one of the teams near the top. Tip-off is just after 8:00.
Who are the Memphis Grizzlies?
Most Celtics’ fans don’t get a lot of chances to see Memphis in action. The Grizzlies are also overshadowed in the West by the Spurs, Warriors, Clippers, and Thunder. They’ve also dealt with a lot of injuries, which have robbed them of truly competing in the West.
This season, Memphis has been very streaky. They’ve had two six game win streaks. Both win streaks have been preceded and followed by losing three out of four. There only win from their last four games came against Cleveland, where Love, James, and Irving had the night off.
Memphis is not a good shooting team. They rank 30th in FG%, 29th in 3PT%, and 30th in 2 PT%. They’ve won 18 games this season because they are really good at making sure the other team doesn’t shoot well either. Their defense ranks 2nd in FG%, 4th in 3PT%, and 3rd in 2PT%.
The Grizzlies are ranked in the top ten in a few other key categories. They’re ranked 5th in rebounds per game, 2nd in defensive rebound percentage, and 9th in offensive rebounds per game. Memphis also does a great job of getting after the ball on defense. They rank 3rd in highest percentage of turnovers forced, they rank 4th in steals, and 9th in blocks.
Keeping JaMychal Green off the boards
Green has had some great rebounding nights over the last nine games. He’s been especially good at getting offensive rebounds, as he pulled in 7, 5, and 4 offensive rebounds in three of his last nine games. The Celtics have struggled rebounding this season, but have been better lately. Tonight will be a good test, and require a lot of effort from all five Celtics on the court.
Jaylen Brown facing off against Vince Carter
I would like to see Jaylen Brown get fed the ball tonight and let him go to work. Brown would likely face up against Vince Carter. Now, when Jaylen Brown was born, Vince Carter was a little less than a month away from playing in his first game in his sophomore season at North Carolina. So, if Carter would have been a one and done player, he would have been drafted a few months before Jaylen was born. Carter still has a little left in the tank, and this will be a great opportunity to play against a player he must of looked up to as a very young man.
Brad Stevens playing chess with David Fizdale
Boston and Memphis do not matchup well against each other. Memphis is an older team. Boston is one of the younger teams. Memphis has some slow-footed bigs who play inside. Boston has a lot of bigs that play on the perimeter. These contrasts will create a bit of a chess match with who is on the floor against who. Both teams play at a similar pace, but they have two very different styles. Stevens will try to open up the paint by pulling Memphis’s slower bigs to the perimeter. Memphis will try to bully the Celtics down low. It will be interesting to see who dictates and who adjusts.
Celtics will benefit from getting out to an early lead
Because Memphis is such a poor shooting team, if the Celtics get a substantial lead early, they could get a lot of opportunities to stretch out the lead. Memphis struggle to put points on the board, and, despite their record, are getting outscored by their opponent this season overall. The Celtics offense has shown glimpses of being really good, while their defense has steadily improved. Tonight’s game with be a great test for the Celtics’ offense.