Memphis 117 Boston 100
Ugly loss. There were moments where the Cs stayed competitive and looked like they were going to take control of the game. But it never happened. Memphis showed them why they’re currently one of the best teams in the league, with absolutely stellar defense for 48 Minutes. The Grizzlies’ Big 3 of Z-Bo, Marc Gasol, and Mike Conley all played efficient, above-average games. Gasol tied a season-high with 32 Points.
Rondo laid an egg with 4, 5, and 4 on 2/6 Shooting in 28 Minutes. The Celtics played better defense 7 Steals and Blocks apiece to the Grizzlies’ 4. But Memphis pulled down 50 Rebounds, and the Celtics only 38. Memphis also shot 48/91 (52.7%) to Boston’s 38/88 (43.2%).
It’s difficult to nitpick certain players. Obviously everyone expects more out of Rajon, but for the most part, everybody else played decent at worst. Sully had 13 Points, 6 Rebounds, an Assist, a Steal, and 3 Blocks. Kelly had 18 Points, 6 Rebounds, an Assist, a Steal and a Block. More guys kicked in double figure points, and for the most part they did it efficiently. At the end of the day, they just lost to a better team. That’s all there is to it.
There was no answer for Z-Bo and Gasol. It was made abundantly clear that the Cs would not be able to get the ball into the paint. Even when one of them subbed out, Jon Leur who came off the bench had a game that was anything but typical, with 19 Points, 7 Rebounds, 4 Assists, 2 Steals and a Block. So the Cs trend of allowing players they don’t prepare having big games continues.
This postgame coverage is starting to get monotonous. Here is what the Cs need to do now to get better:
- Rondo needs to continue to play at his MVP pace. He’s likely exhausted, but only good can come from his aggressive play. He’s the captain. Players will feed off of that energy, and when he gets it going, he’s nearly unstoppable.
- Kelly and Sully need to continue to play above-average basketball. They got killed defensively, so they best thing they can do is keep the morale up and fight back offensively. There were a few moment where I saw some bad body language coming from Sully. That’s uncharacteristic and must end immediately. He’s slowly becoming a leader of this team.
- Evan Turner turned in a nice game off the bench with 10, 6, and 5. He must continue to play exactly like this: fill the stat sheet.
- Marcus Smart needs to get healthy ASAP. His defense is sorely missed. The Cs are going to have a hard time winning games without Smart the stalwart running the show on defense.
I’m thinking it might be time to go back to the drawing board. Somewhere along the way, offense became more of a priority for this team. Yet if you look at the roster, it ain’t hard to tell that this team is not going to outscore most teams on any given night. Last year, the Cs were one of the best defensive teams in the league. This year, not so much. D leads to transition offense, which is paramount to team success.
Brad is mulling it over tonight, and tomorrow the team takes on a gritty Portland Trail Blazers team in Boston.
Homer Johnsen (@HomerJohnsen) is a freelance writer and Gatekeeper of the Celtics Fans Echo Chamber. He says what everyone else is thinking after every game, right here on HeresTheDealLikeShaquille.