Ford Keys to the Game: Grizzlies 93, Celtics 83

Grizzlies 93, Celtics 83
By Marc D'Amico, January 3, 2013

Key Moment

When a team is attempting to overcome an 18-point, fourth-quarter deficit, a lot of things need to go that team’s way. One of the factors that must be in the trailing team’s favor is its own decision making. The Celtics did not excel in that area Wednesday night.

A furious fourth-quarter run by Boston saw it cut Memphis’ 18-point lead all the way down to five in the fourth quarter. A win was certainly attainable for the C's at that point, but a sudden case of hero ball prevented them from completing the comeback.

“I think it was [a five]-point game, and then we rushed shots,” Doc Rivers said after the loss. “We just start taking quick 3s. We didn’t play like a veteran team; we played like a really young team that was rushed.”

It was shocking that the C’s played in a manner that would warrant such a comment. It was even more shocking that the main reasons for that comment were Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce, who are two of the more experienced players in the NBA.

So about those rushed 3s that Rivers referenced. There were three of them, and Rondo and Pierce accounted for all three. It felt as if Boston fell in love with the long ball as a result of Jason Terry's back-to-back 3s cutting their deficit down to five. Following Terry's makes, Rondo tossed up an ill-advised 3-pointer on two of the Celtics’ next four offensive possessions and then Pierce fired one up on the fifth possession.

Boston’s poor decision making down the stretch resulted in the team going scoreless for nearly four minutes after it pulled to within five points. Meanwhile, Memphis doubled its lead back up to 10 points and walked away with a 93-83 win.

Key Box Score Line

The return of Avery Bradley’s defensive presence was supposed to stop Mike Conley from having a superb game Wednesday night. That was before Conley took advantage of Bradley logging only 19 minutes of action in his first game of the season.

Conley poured in a game-high 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting while leading his team to a 93-83 win over the Celtics. The point guard shot the ball with confidence from all over the court, as he made half of his six 3-point attempts and all four of his free throws. Conley also compiled a sparkling assist-to-turnover ration of 9-to-1 while chipping in three rebounds and a steal.

We knew that Conley would have an opportunity to shine while Bradley was on the bench, but we didn’t think he’d shine this bright. He played incredible basketball while logging a game-high 44 minutes of action.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Paul Pierce attempted as many 3-pointers (eight) as Memphis made in the game.
  • Pierce led the Celtics with 17 points.
  • Boston grabbed just 27 total rebounds in the game, led by seven boards apiece from Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
  • Of Boston's five starters, Jason Collins finished with the best plus/minus rating, at minus-four.
  • The game was never tied other than at 0-0.
  • Memphis scored exactly 25 points in each of the first three quarters.
  • Mike Conley scored a game-high 23 points and dished out nine assists.
  • Rajon Rondo's 10 assists were a game-high.
  • Darrell Arthur, who was 0-for-13 from long range in his career prior to this game, shot 2-for-3 from downtown on the night.
  • Jared Sullinger fouled out of the game in less than 20 minutes of action.
  • Marc Gasol, Memphis' starting center, grabbed a game-high four steals.
  • Zach Randolph led the game with eight rebounds.

Quote of the Night

Jared's been phenomenal. I just wish I he could play longer.
Doc Rivers on Jared Sullinger's solid play and poor luck with referees

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