After a tense last thirty seconds of regulation, the Celtics were able to pull off their sixth consecutive victory on Sunday night. They did this by rallying in the fourth quarter to defeat the Grizzlies by a score of 102-100 on the road.
Memphis put up a fight against Boston despite the fact that they were missing Marcus Smart and four other rotation players. The game was a back-and-forth affair, and Memphis missed a chance to win the game with four seconds left to play. At the end of the day, the Celtics were able to avoid the late charge that was being made by the hosts because five different players scored in double figures, which contributed to the victory.
Sam Hauser contributed 15 points off the bench, while Kristaps Porzingis led the way with 26 points, including the game-winning basket. Sam Hauser also contributed to the final score. A game-high thirty points were scored by Desmond Bane for the home team.
This victory brings Boston’s record to an all-time high of 11-2 in the NBA, and it also provides them with the opportunity to finish off a 4-0 road trip on Monday night in Charlotte.
From Sunday night’s game, the Celtics learned four important things:Marcus Smart stands on the sidelines and watches his former team with interest: As a result of a left foot sprain, the point guard was forced to sit out of the Memphis game for the next three to five weeks. He was wearing street clothes and sitting on the bench. It is because of his absence that Smart will have the opportunity to make a dramatic comeback to TD Garden in February. He will play for the first time against his former colleagues in front of a crowd that is excited about the arrival of Smart.
The reserve forward Sam Hauser has been the most consistent player on Boston’s bench during the entire season, and that trend continued on Sunday night. He is still playing at a particularly high level. Hauser was able to make all four of his tries from beyond the arc, which resulted in him scoring 12 points in the first twenty-four minutes of the game. This was in contrast to the other members of the Boston lineup, who were unable to make any three-point shots during the first half (0-of-9). From this point forward, Hauser has made multiple attempts from beyond the arc in eight consecutive games overall, and he has scored at least three points in seven of his most recent eight games. In related news, Hauser finished with 15 points off the bench and a career-high plus-17 in a victory by two points. He also led the team in plus/minus (+14) by a mile in his first 12 half minutes. Both of these contributions contributed to the team’s victory.
The Memphis Grizzlies chose to start with a larger lineup against Boston, but they also decided to try to crossmatch against the 7-foot-3 big man Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis thrives on paint mismatches. The end effect was that Porzingis was able to make eight of his first nine shots from the field, with the vast majority of those shots coming from within the paint. This allowed him to feast in the post against opposing teams that were less formidable. Porzingis made Memphis pay for a lack of potential size coming off their bench. Jaren Jackson Jr. and Bismack Biyombo were both struggling with foul trouble for a significant portion of the night. Porzingis made Memphis pay for this. Along with his team-high 26 points, he concluded the game with a season-high six blocks and a 9-of-10 shooting performance from inside the arc.
It should come as no surprise that the Celtics are continuing their overwhelming run versus Memphis this season given that the Grizzlies have been plagued by ailments and entered the game winless at home (0-5). On the other hand, it is important to point out that the Celtics have won 14 of their previous 15 games versus Memphis, including the one they won on Sunday. This stretch of domination spanning seven seasons is a sign of just how spectacular the reign has been for Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown together. The challenge should be more difficult the next time around in Boston, with Marcus Smart and Ja Morant likely returning to the fold for the Grizzlies. However, this run of supremacy is something that should be expected.