As most of the sports world was preparing for Sunday’s Super Bowl, two of the best teams in the NBA faced off at TD Garden. Eight Celtics finished in double figures in the scoring column to secure a 119-109 victory for Boston (41-16). Derrick White continued his impressive scoring stretch while continuing to be called upon in the absence of Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown in the backcourt. White is averaging 21.8 points per game in February, nearly double his average for the season, 11.5.
Photo Cred: Boston.com
With Guard Malcolm Brogdon also sidelined with an injury, Sam Hauser started for just the third time all season. The sharpshooter converted on six of his 11 three-point attempts and scored 20 points for the second time as a Celtic. Hauser and White helped make up for an off night from All-Star Jayson Tatum shot 3-16 from the field. Tatum’s mild performance did not stop the TD Garden crowd from chanting “M-V-P” whenever Tatum went to the free-throw line. The win gave Boston their fourth in a row and increased their lead atop the Eastern Conference to 1.5 games over Milwaukee.
Phot Cred: NBA
Ja Morant led Memphis (34-22) with 25 points, six rebounds, and seven assists in the Sunday matinee. Morant showed a lot of respect for the Celtics in an interview earlier this season with ESPN, claiming that Boston was the team that worried him the most in the NBA. Morant’s Grizzlies have been on a downward spiral as of late, dropping their ninth game out of the last 12 on Sunday. Despite their recent troubles, Memphis still sits in second place in the Western Conference, but the gap between them and Western leaders’ Denver continues to grow. The Grizzlies return home to host the Utah Jazz on Wednesday in their final game before the All-Star break.
Photo Cred: Boston Globe
The Celtics led by 13 points at halftime thanks to a dominant second quarter, but Memphis responded with a 33-21 advantage in the third to keep the game close. Morant notched 11 points and five assists in the quarter alone to fight back into the game. Al Horford attempted three three-pointers in the final frame, converting on each attempt to seal the win. Boston has used the three-point line to its success all season long, as only the Golden State Warriors have made more than Boston’s 903.
The Celtics converted 21 shots from long range as a team against Memphis after making 25 in the team’s previous game against Charlotte. The injuries to Brown and Smart have led to shooters off the bench becoming a big part of Head Coach Joe Mazzula’s game plan, and this has worked for the Celtics, who have now won four straight games while missing two to three starters in each game.
Photo Cred: KDVR
Celtics Center Robert Williams scored ten points in the win and dominated the paint, securing 16 rebounds for his team. Williams should be an important factor in stopping Giannis Antetokounmpo in Boston’s next game when they face the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday at 7 PM EST on TNT.