Grizzlies at Celtics preview
With Rajon Rondo nearing a return, the inconsistent Boston Celtics are on an upward trend as they return home.
They'll try to end their losing streak there while adding to the Memphis Grizzlies' struggles without their All-Star center.
Boston looks to win its third straight game overall Wednesday night when it takes on the Grizzlies, who hope to avoid their third straight loss without Marc Gasol.
After dropping their first four games, the streaky Celtics (6-10) went on a four-game winning streak before losing the following six. They ended that slide with consecutive road victories, winning 94-87 at Atlanta on Saturday and 96-86 at Charlotte on Monday.
Jordan Crawford led the way with 21 points and hit 4 of 6 from 3-point range, while Gerald Wallace looks to build on his best performance as a Celtic after scoring a season-high 17.
"(Wallace) is contagious in the way he plays," coach Brad Stevens said. "When he plays like that, it makes it easier to follow. We're kind of finding our way back to that Jeff (Green) and Gerald lineup more and more."
Green, averaging a team-high 15.1 points, has totaled 29 points while missing 17 of 26 shots in his last two games. But he played well in the first meeting, leading Boston with 22 points in a 95-88 loss in Memphis on Nov. 4.
The Grizzlies (7-7) outscored the Celtics 29-16 in the fourth quarter en route to that come-from-behind victory.
Boston, though, turned things around defensively against the Hawks and Bobcats, allowing a combined 173 points and a 41.3 field goal percentage. The Celtics had given up 102.3 points per game on 46.3 percent shooting during their six-game losing streak.
They'll attempt to continue that effort back home, where they've lost three straight by an average of 11.3 points.
Boston could get a boost in the near future as Rondo continues to recover from a torn ACL last January. According to reports, the four-time All-Star has been participating in workouts without a knee brace, though there isn't a firm target date for his debut.
The Grizzlies also have had to move on without Gasol, who suffered a sprained MCL in the first half of Friday's 102-86 loss to San Antonio. While his left knee does not require surgery, the All-Star center is expected to miss at least six weeks.
Without the reigning defensive player of the year, the Grizzlies have given up 97.5 points per game and a 51.4 field goal percentage in their last two after allowing 88.8 and 41.2 while winning the previous four.
"We're going to change," coach Dave Joerger said. "It's going to be a work in progress and it's going to take a couple weeks."
Kosta Koufos filled in with eight points and 13 rebounds in his first start Monday, but Memphis couldn't hold on to a 14-point lead in a 93-86 loss to Houston.
Mike Conley, who leads the Grizzlies with 18.8 points per game, will try to bounce back after posting a season-low 10 while missing 12 of 14 shots. In the most recent meeting in Boston, Conley had a game-high 23 points and nine assists in a 93-83 win on Jan. 2.
Memphis, seeking its fifth straight road win, has won three of four against Boston.
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