As chaos hit its climax within the last seconds, Kristaps Porzingis stored his cool. With the Celtics main the Grizzlies by two throughout a wild sequence, the ball discovered Ziaire Williams, whose desperation game-tying shot discovered Porzingis’ hand.
Porzingis stood in satisfaction of the second and appeared to ship some trash speak in Williams’ path as he lay on the courtroom. His Celtics teammates swarmed him. And all of them stood there for a second to make sure the victory was secured.
Somehow, the Celtics survived.
For a second consecutive recreation, the Celtics weren’t at their finest. Against an inferior Grizzlies staff lacking eight gamers, they have been caught in one other rockfight. It was emotional, bodily, irritating and sloppy, a recreation deserving of Marcus Smart, who was sitting on the Memphis bench all night time attributable to an damage. But as soon as once more, the C’s discovered a means. Porzingis’ sixth block of the sport clinched a gutsy 102-100 victory in Memphis.
Porzingis – the person acquired for Smart in that stunning commerce again in June – confirmed his worth once more with 26 factors and people six blocks, as he saved his finest for final to guide the Celtics to their sixth consecutive victory.
“We got lucky to win that game,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla informed reporters in Memphis.
The Celtics might by no means discover a method to shake the scrappy Grizzlies, led by Desmond Bane and Santi Aldama’s mixed 13 3-pointers. Memphis efficiently mucked the sport up and had a counter-punch prepared for the Celtics in each second. The C’s solely escaped after a frantic sequence within the last seconds.
The C’s trailed by two with 1:48 to go after Bane’s seventh 3-pointer earlier than they as soon as once more pushed by means of in crunch time. Porzingis was fouled on the following possession and tied the sport. On the following journey down, Jayson Tatum discovered Porzingis chopping for a dunk for a 102-100 lead.
Then, chaos ensued.
The Celtics pressured a cease with 37 seconds left earlier than Tatum missed a jumper with 18 seconds left. Derrick White corralled the rebound with 14 seconds left, and handed it to Tatum, and the C’s might have clinched the sport on the free throw line. But Tatum inexplicably handed the ball to a chopping Jrue Holiday, who discovered himself vast open within the paint, attacked the basket and missed a dunk try.
The Grizzlies grabbed the rebound and raced the opposite means, the place Aldama missed a go-ahead 3-point try with 4 seconds left earlier than Porzingis’ profitable play on the buzzer.
That last sequence represented a lackluster night time for the Celtics filled with errors. The determination to go for and miss a bucket whereas up two might have simply price them, however they received away with it.
“I didn’t think we deserved to win the game because a lot of the stuff that we did,” Mazzulla informed reporters. “At the end of the game there, you either have to make the layup or get fouled. That’s just how it is. You gotta make it, or you have to dribble the clock out and you get fouled and you make your free throws and the game’s over.”
The Celtics’ frustrations have been obvious throughout a wierd third quarter, when the whistle continuously appeared to go in opposition to them. Jaylen Brown picked up a technical foul arguing a name. Kristaps Porzingis was whistled for 2 offensive fouls in a brief sequence, which despatched him to the bench. Tatum, as soon as once more, was lower than his finest. He dedicated eight turnovers, which included 4 offensive fouls.
In an atypical transfer, each Tatum and Brown sat collectively for the ultimate seven minutes of the third quarter. Seldom-used bench gamers like Neemias Queta and Lamar Stevens have been utilized in vital spots, however the Celtics, although they took a nine-point lead late within the interval, might by no means discover a rhythm.
Mazzulla mentioned the Grizzlies outplayed them, that the C’s have been undisciplined on each ends and have been outplayed. They trailed a number of occasions within the fourth quarter as Bane’s scorching capturing and the Grizzlies’ hustle performs pushed them forward. The C’s in all probability deserved to lose, however they’ll actually take the training classes with the victory anyway.
“I can’t have the expectation of perfection, like we’re always going to play well,” Mazzulla informed reporters. “That’s just not reality. There’s 82 of these things. It doesn’t mean I’m not happy. Like I’m not happy about it. I was happy with how the game went about in the game against Toronto, tonight I’m not happy about it, but I understand it, that it’s going to happen and it’s just building basketball character.”
Other takeaways and notes:
– The Celtics solely took 14 3-point makes an attempt within the first half – seven in every quarter – and in the end a season-low 31 for the sport, which was a surprisingly low quantity given their typical quantity (league-leading 44.3 makes an attempt per recreation getting into Sunday) and the opponent. The Grizzlies entered the night time with the worst 3-point protection within the NBA – opponents have been capturing 41.7 % from deep – however appeared to emphasise slowing the Celtics from lengthy vary.
The Grizzlies’ capability to restrict the Celtics’ exterior capturing helped preserve the sport shut, however the C’s managed to search out success in different methods. They scored 18 factors within the paint within the first quarter, which included Porzingis – who scored 11 within the opening interval – benefiting from a number of mismatches.
– Sam Hauser gave the impression to be the one one hitting pictures for some time, as his scorching November continued. The Celtics began the sport 4-for-15 from deep, with all of these makes coming from Hauser. Brown was the primary Celtics starter to make a 3-pointer, which got here early within the third quarter.
– Brown was cleared to play in Sunday’s recreation after he suffered a light proper adductor pressure in Friday’s win over the Raptors, when he slipped on Toronto’s particular In-Season Tournament courtroom. He referred to as the state of that courtroom unacceptable. On Sunday, he mentioned he had an MRI that confirmed the damage wasn’t critical. It’s unclear if he’ll play in each video games of the Celtics’ back-to-back, with the second recreation coming Monday night time in Charlotte.
“All signs point to everything being OK,” Brown informed reporters.