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Posted Dec 5 2006 7:00PM
A pair of teams desperately in need of a win meet Wednesday when the Boston Celtics host the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Celtics (5-11) and the Grizzlies (4-13) are in the midst of three-game losing streaks, and have two of the worst records in the league. Boston, though, is just a few games out of first place in the weak Atlantic Division.
The Celtics have lost five of six after a season-high three-game win streak.
``We're just not a very good basketball team right now,'' Boston coach Doc Rivers said after a 100-82 loss at Chicago on Monday.
The Celtics trailed the Bulls 53-35 at halftime and were down by as many as 30 in the third quarter. Paul Pierce was held to a season-low eight points on just 4-of-13 shooting.
Pierce entered eighth in the NBA in scoring at 26.9 points per game, but was held to single digits for the first time since scoring five on April 19, 2005, against Cleveland.
The five-time All-Star bruised his right elbow in Friday's 106-102 loss at Toronto, but did not use that as an excuse.
``It really doesn't bother me anymore,'' he said. ``It was one of those nights when the Bulls did a good job defending me.''
Pierce has struggled lately against Memphis, averaging 20.3 points in four meetings over the past two seasons - his third-lowest average against any opponent in that span.
Boston's Wally Szczerbiak, second on the team in scoring with 19.6 points a contest, missed Monday's game with a sprained left ankle and will probably miss this game, Rivers said.
The Celtics split their two games with the Grizzlies last season, but have won four of their last five against them at TD Banknorth Garden.
Boston is 3-6 at home this season, while Memphis is 1-9 on the road and in danger of falling even farther behind in the highly competitive Western Conference.
The Grizzlies, who are without All-Star Pau Gasol for another month with a broken foot, have advanced to the playoffs the last three seasons but already own the worst record in the conference.
Memphis lost 98-90 in New York on Monday, and has dropped four of its last five.
The Grizzlies allowed the Knicks to shoot 56.3 percent from the floor, and their opponents are connecting on 53.2 percent of their shots during the three-game skid.
``Our defense is nonexistent right now,'' Grizzlies coach Mike Fratello said. ``We don't stop any runs. We need to spend a lot of time going back to our basic fundamentals of how to guard the basketball and then go from there.''
After averaging 14.4 points on 48.7 percent shooting in his first 11 games, Hakim Warrick is averaging 18.8 points on 53.6 percent shooting in his last six contests. He had 19 points against the Knicks.
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