The Boston Celtics will travel to Memphis tonight to face the Grizzlies who are 7-3 in their last 10 games. Boston will try to finish their road trip on a positive note after losing three straight games to Miami, New Orleans, and Dallas.
The Grizzlies are one of the top 4 teams in the Western Conference and are as hot as anyone in the league right now. They’ve got a 93.3 defensive rating at home since Rudy Gay was traded. They aren’t a very good offensive team, but their defense certainly makes up for that–especially at home.
The Celtics will likely make the playoffs, but they’ll have to stave off the Bucks in the 8th spot to keep from playing Miami too soon. The Celtics are only two games ahead of the Bucks who are 34-34.
Something else to keep an eye on is Courtney Lee. He may or may not play tonight depending on how his ankle feels after spraining it last night. He said that he’s shooting to play, but we’ll see.
Three Keys to Victory
Hold on to the ball
The Grizzles are one of the best teams in the league at forcing turnovers. Their opponents have 14.4 turnovers per contest on average. The Grizzlies attack the ball relentlessly on the defensive end on the floor with their perimeter guys. The Celtics will need to watch out for that.
Pack the Paint
The Grizzlies have very few shooting threats on the outside. When the Celtics are defending, it would be wise for them to pack the paint. The Grizzlies collectively shoot 35% from beyond the arch but they are very reluctant to take those shots. They only average 13.5 shots from outside per game.
Watch the post pass
Marc Gasol is Memphis’ best player and has been for quite some time. The Celtics have to be sure to respect his passing ability from the post area. The Grizzlies will run plenty of Horns sets and post pinching plays where the Celtics will face cutters at the rim. The spacing is going to get funky, but the Grizzlies know how to make it effective.