The Boston Celtics (51-31) destroyed the short-handed Memphis Grizzlies (56-26) 139-110. With the second seed locked up, the Grizzlies rested their main cast in their regular season finale. Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr, Desmond Bane, and Steven Adams all watched from the sideline. Memphis will prepare for the post season with their competition soon to be determined. It was a different story for Boston as they fought for seeding in a tight Eastern Conference. They ended up obtaining the 2nd seed and are now awaiting their play-in opponent.
Boston kicked off tonight’s contest with Marcus Smart setting a pindown for Jaylen Brown leading to a three. Daniel Theis quickly made his mark as well. He scored a layup then found a back-cutting Jayson Tatum for a thunderous slam. Brown continued to shoot the ball well, knocking down a step-back triple. The Grizzlies’ ball movement led to a barrage of threes that included makes from De’Anthony Melton and Kyle Anderson. Marcus Smart’s facilitating went on display as he hit Tatum on the break for a layup. The Celtics played effective zone defense and closed out on shooters at a high level. Boston ran stagger action with pindowns from Smart and Horford to get Tatum a layup. Horford was also great at facilitating from the post and finding shooters.
Marcus Smart’s passing ability continued to impact Boston’s offense as he hit Tatum for an easy three. The Grizzlies got theirs in transition offense, especially Kyle Anderson. Tatum once again shredded Memphis’ zone defense and drew contact at the rim. He followed up that with a three on the fast-break. The Grizzlies finished the quarter with more urgency and a lot of dribble drives. John Konchar put Grant Williams on a poster too. Kyle Anderson played well down low and headlined Memphis’ offense. The Grizzlies 2-3 zone was effective later in the quarter as the Celtics misfired on threes, despite good ball movement.
Boston got off to a great defensive start in the second frame. Grant Williams played suffocating interior defense and Pritchard got a deflection. Al Horford got Boston going with yet another simple layup in the post. For Memphis, Melton nearly killed Nesmith at the rim and then splashed a transition three. Jarrett Culver had a highlight play where he locked up Tatum, stole the ball, and threw it down in transition. Boston’s defense was very switch heavy and it worked amazingly because of the collective’s mobility. That luxury led to great pick and roll defense that ultimately shut Memphis down. Jaylen Brown’s playmaking was impressive in the first half. He found Pritchard in the corner with a beautiful touch pass and Horford in the same position after. Jaylen hit a step-back three in early offense on top of that.
Then, Jayson Tatum hit a turnaround jumper over Melton shortly after checking in. Melton struck back with a three of his own off a nice cross court pass. Tatum then used his scoring gravity to hit Derrick White in the corner for three. Melton came back down and blew by Tatum and drove hard and scored over Grant. The Celtics were fairly sloppy in the first half, but it wasn’t a huge issue. Tatum continued his offensive masterclass with a jaw dropping contested stephack three. To cap it all off, Smart read the passing lane, stole the ball, and threw it down. Tatum creatively attacked and bodies were shortly all over him. He found Theis for an easy two showing his ability as a playmaker. Jayson rubs more salt in the wound with a pull up three over Konchar. Jayson hits an unbelievable three over Aldama off an epic crossover to finish the first half.
Marcus Smart dished it to Horford in the low post to start the third quarter. Horford provided great value on the defensive end closing out on shooters off of switches. Al connected with Jaylen Brown off the backdoor cut for the dunk soon after.What couldn’t Al do in the third quarter? Brown went on a scoring spree as he got an easy layup off of another Horford pass. He effortlessly split Memphis’ struggling 2-3 zone and finished at the rim soon after. The only positive outcome of this bloodbath for Memphis was Zaire Williams. He knocked down a pair of triples in an attempt to keep Memphis competitive.
It was useless as Smart detected Tatum in the post for an easy two and Brown continued his scoring rampage. Nonetheless, Zaire was hot from the perimeter knocking down a transition three and off the catch and shoot. Zaire contributed on the defensive end as well. He played eye catching point of attack defense on Smart forcing him to pass out of dribble drives. Memphis had struggled defensively, but they were more active in the restricted area. Especially Xavier Tillman who played great help defense in the nail. However, the game was unfortunately out of reach. Culver hit a step-back baseline jumper to cap off the third quarter.
If you turned off the game at the start of the fourth quarter you didn’t miss much. Both teams emptied their benches and it was mostly a fast paced game full of sloppy play. For Boston, Malik Fitts quickly attacked the basket and furiously yammed it down Memphis’ throat. Later, Aldama threw a showtime behind the back pass for a nasty Culver slam. It was a smooth sailing blowout from then on and that’s all she wrote.