Game Preview: Celtics at Grizzlies
The Memphis Grizzlies have won nine straight at home as they get ready to welcome a Boston Celtics team that has dropped three straight.
The Celtics, however, have won their last five visits to the FedEx Forum as they try to avoid being swept by the Grizzlies for the first time in 12 years Saturday night.
Both teams are seeking to bounce back from Friday road defeats. Memphis (46-22) fell 90-83 to New Orleans and Boston (36-32) lost 104-94 to Dallas.
The Grizzlies may have a better chance to recover because they are enjoying their longest run at home since winning their final 11 contests in Memphis last season.
The Celtics did not visit in 2011-12, and they haven't lost there since a 93-76 defeat March 14, 2006. It has been even longer since they dropped two meetings with the Grizzlies in the same season, last doing so in 2000-01 when the franchise was based in Vancouver.
Memphis won 93-83 at Boston on Jan. 2 behind Mike Conley's 23 points and a 39-27 rebounding edge.
Both teams look different now since the Grizzlies traded away Rudy Gay on Jan. 30 in a deal that brought over Tayshaun Prince to add to a defensive-minded lineup that already includes former Boston guard Tony Allen.
Conley, meanwhile, won't have to match up at point guard against Rajon Rondo, who is out for the rest of the year with a torn ACL.
The Celtics backcourt got another blow Friday when starting guard Courtney Lee went down late in the game with a mild left ankle sprain. Lee, who is day to day, said the injury wasn't serious.
Memphis is hoping to duplicate its effort on the glass from the first meeting after being outrebounded 49-33 by the Hornets and outscored 48-38 in the paint.
"We were just not playing defensively and the game got away," center Marc Gasol said. "They did a great job of rebounding and we did not help on the drive and did not contest shots. They just had an open lane for rebounds."
Conley led Memphis with 20 points and Zach Randolph just missed his 40th double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds.
Three Celtics finished with 16 points apiece against the Mavericks, as Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass all reached that total. Jason Terry scored eight points on 3-of-9 shooting in his return to Dallas.
"He didn't play great tonight," Boston coach Doc Rivers said about Terry. "He played with a lot of spirit. I love him, still. I wish we could have won the game for him tonight. I really do."
Rivers and the Celtics said their defensive effort was lacking, as the Mavs shot 46.3 percent.
"I've always said we're a defensive team that can score the basketball and we've got to get back to our bread and butter," Garnett said.
The Celtics have won three straight games in the second halves of back-to-backs, improving to 9-8 in such contests. The Grizzlies are 9-6 in those games.
Boston has dropped four straight on the road, where it is 2-11 against Western Conference foes.