Rapid Recap is designed for the busiest of Celtics fans. Whether you can’t stay awake to read 10 paragraphs or your hangover is just too much, Rapid Recap tells the timeline of the game in only a minute or two.
No time for the Boston Celtics to bask in the glory of their MLK Day evisceration of the Los Angeles Lakers: The fiery Memphis Grizzlies were in town to knock Boston off of their cloud, just like they’d done to quite a few high-echelon teams this season…BZZZT WRONGO.
After about a quarter and a half of well-matched basketball, the Celtics said, “To hell with this actually,” and blew the game open. More specifically Jayson Tatum (23-7-4-2-1) and Daniel Theis (14-4-2-2-3) blew it open, but the squad had four other double-figure scorers: Enes Kanter (13), Gordon Hayward (12), Marcus Smart (12) and Brad Wanamaker (10), pouring on the punishment with crisp motion offense and stranglehold defense.
Kemba Walker barely scored (8-3-4-2-2) and it didn’t matter to the 119-95 final score, which REALLY doesn’t reflect the timbre of this blowout, given that Boston’s lead got up to 38. Let’s break it down:
Whole lotta offensively-minded Theis to start the game. Also, ALWAYS NICE 2 SEE OLD FRIENDZ:
With the league’s best offense for January (123.1 points per game), the young Grizz were certainly gonna punch back:
For me, it was most notable that Boston, despite missing shots, was generally making smart plays on offense and keeping the ball in motion—basic but essential things missing from their recent losses and all over their win against the Lakers.
Certainly what you prefer to see.
Compared to numerous recent Celtics first quarters, I’ll take it. They had trouble with the floor-stretching Jaren Jackson Jr. but kept Ja Morant—easily the team’s primary threat, rookie or not—scoreless. Sadly, Kemba Walker was also scoreless.
Boston and Memphis exchanged close leads and runs through the second quarter, with Tatum (unsurprisingly) and Theis (more surprisingly) remaining their primary offensive forces due to Kemba’s cold spell and Brown’s absence.
Marcus Smart also did SMARF things:
Through a combination of paint-clogging defensive intensity, Tatum’s dominance and several common young-team mistakes on the Grizzlies’ part, the Celtics reclaimed the lead more sustainably, in a 23-2 run to close out Q2.
Ahead comfortably 58-44 at the halfway point.
Pardon the swear; that’s just good Weird Celtics Twittering right there. Likewise this:
Back in the actual game, Boston really started running away with things right from the third-quarter tip:
The run extended to 43-9 before steal of the 2019 draft Brandon Clarke snapped it with a triple. But we’re definitely in “early preparation for Gino Time” mode here.
And yet…Cs fans can’t even have a nice blowout without worrying about an injury to the team’s second-best player.
FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU. Officially listed as a “right groin strain.” Tatum was originally listed as not returning to the game, which was definitely the right choice in a blowout, even if it’s something that wasn’t that bad and could, in more dire circumstances, be walked off/played through.
That in/of itself was probably a “fan reassurance” move.
With a 36-point lead (99-63 to start Q4), Brad Stevens emptied the bench and let the chips fall where they may. And by emptied I mean emptied; we got Vincent Poirier minutes up in here. Plus wholesomeness!
Aaaaaand more damn injuries.
Well, I guess it’s good Vinnie Sexpants is healthy if we’re gonna be down a center for a minute again. Whatever. Great win.