Ford Keys to the Game: Grizzlies 80, Celtics 98
Grizzlies 80, Celtics 98
Sunday’s matchup between the streaking Celtics and the struggling Grizzlies looked as if it would go down to the wire in the early moments of the fourth quarter. By the time we reached the midway point of the period, however, this game had turned into a laugher.
Dante Cunningham opened up the final period with a 14-foot jumper that cut Boston’s lead down to six, at 69-63. That was the closest Memphis had been since the first half. Shortly thereafter, Boston decided to put this game in the bag with fantastic ball movement and shutdown defense.
It all started with a turnaround jumper by Kevin Garnett, who led the game in both points and rebounds, which answered Cunningham’s bucket from the previous possession. The Celtics followed that up with a 3-pointer from Mickael Pietrus, which was assisted by Garnett, and then a slam dunk by JaJuan Johnson after a turnover by Mike Conley.
In a matter of just 61 seconds of playing time, Boston had more than doubled its advantage from six points all the way up to 13. And they weren’t done there.
The two teams traded baskets over the next few minutes, but as the midway point of the quarter approached the Celtics added to their lead. Garnett put home another two points off of a dish from Mickael Pietrus at the 6:21 mark, and Pierce followed that up four seconds later with a free throw after O.J. Mayo was whistled for a technical foul. Pierce tacked on another two free throws shortly thereafter, and then he assisted on a pretty turnaround bank shot by KG that put the C’s ahead by 20 points.
There was a little more than five minutes remaining on the clock after Garnett’s jumper, but at that point the result of this game was no longer in doubt. The minds of everyone in the building were already beginning to think about the next game on Sunday's docket: Super Bowl XLVI.
The Celtics opened up Super Bowl Sunday with a dominant win over the Grizzlies, and that sent thousands of fans scrambling out of TD Garden with smiles on their faces as they anticipate a potential Super Bowl victory for New England tonight.
Key Box Score Line
It was a Hot Tub Time Machine game for Kevin Garnett on Sunday. Garnett turned back the clock and dominated the young Grizzlies en route to one of his best games of the season. He finished with game highs of 24 points and nine rebounds, and those 24 points matcedh his season high in that category.
Garnett doesn’t exactly enjoy when the offense runs through him, and today it didn’t have to. He was able to accumulate his 24 points on a limited amount of touches, as he shot 9-of-12 from the floor. He made five of his six free throws, and as icing on the cake he canned a 3-pointer for the third consecutive game.
KG was essentially unstoppable today and the Grizzlies had no answer for him down low. He got off any shot he wanted and he grabbed any rebound he wanted. Not bad for a 35-year-old who was facing off against a young and athletic Grizzlies frontline.
Box Score Nuggets
- Memphis shot just 36.8 percent from the floor.
- Two Celtics, Kevin Garnett (24 points) and Paul Pierce (21 points) scored at least 20 points.
- Garnett led the game in scoring and rebounds (nine boards).
- Five Celtics scored in double-figures.
- Jermaine O'Neal and JaJuan Johnson both blocked two shots for Boston.
- Chris Wilcox scored 12 points off the bench, with 10 of them coming in the first quarter.
- Rudy Gay, who led the Grizzlies with 21 points on 8-for-16 shooting, was the only Memphis starter to make at least half of his shots.
- Fifteen of Memphis' 38 rebounds came at the offensive end.
- Pierce shot 10-of-10 from the free-throw line.
- Rajon Rondo led the game with 14 assists.
- Boston's 20 turnovers led to 22 points for Memphis.
- In addition to his two blocks, Johnson also logged 10 points, four rebounds, one assist and one steal.
- The Celtics shot 19-of-21 from the free-throw line.
- Pierce finished with a whopping plus-28 in the plus/minus category despite playing just 31 minutes.
- Memphis, which headed into the game ranked third in the league in points in the paint, scored just 34 in the lane today.
- Both teams scored 11 second-chance points.
- The Celtics outscored the Grizzlies 26-10 in fast break points.
- Memphis scored 19 or less points in three of the four quarters.
- Boston assisted on 28 of its 36 made field goals.
- Eight of the 12 Celtics who played in the game grabbed at least one steal.
Quote of the Night
Doc Rivers on Chris Wilcox's recent stretch of play: "Wilcox has been – in the last three games he’s been absolutely off-the-charts terrific with his energy. I thought he was the – I mean, a lot of guys did a lot of good things in New York – but I thought Wilcox was the reason we won that game, with his play. He’s just doing all the right things."