Kyrie Irving and Al Horford have been the catalysts for the Boston Celtics’ strong start, but they’ll need to find some more support when the team begins a two-game road trip at the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday. Irving and Horford combined for 54 points while the other three starters went a collective 5-for-18 from the floor, and Boston shot 40.7 percent overall in Friday’s 107-95 home loss against Utah.
Rookie Jayson Tatum was held to seven points and he has 11 total on 2-of-13 shooting over the Celtics’ last two losses. Boston has not dropped two in a row since opening the season 0-2, but it is 2-3 since a 22-2 run and some bad habits may be developing. “I’m concerned with our lack of intensity when things don’t go our way,” coach Brad Stevens told reporters Friday. The Grizzlies snapped a five-game losing streak with a 96-94 victory over Atlanta on Friday, making 12-of-25 3-pointers to improve to 1-6 at home against the Eastern Conference.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, NBCSN Boston, FSN Southeast (Memphis)
ABOUT THE CELTICS (24-7): Among the indicators that Boston lacked fight Friday night was the final result in the rebounding department, as Utah finished with a commanding 55-31 advantage despite losing center Rudy Gobert and forward Derrick Favors to early injuries. The Celtics had a season-low two offensive boards - one by the starting five. Irving has 33 points in back-to-back games and owns four 30-point efforts in his last six outings.
ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (9-20): Memphis trailed by seven at halftime, committed 22 turnovers and made 12-of-17 free throws Friday, but in a season that has seen losses pile up it had a rare opportunity to survive a slugfest. “Moral victories only go so far and the guys need to be rewarded,” interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff told reporters. “. ... That’s a resilient bunch in that locker room. Things weren’t going perfect for us, we had 22 turnovers, we didn’t play the cleanest of games but there was grit to it and it was ugly and we found a way to pull it out.” Tyreke Evans led the way with 22 points while hitting 4-of-5 3-pointers after missing one game with a hip injury.
1. Grizzlies SG Andrew Harrison is 6-for-7 from 3-point range over a three-game stretch.
2. Celtics PF Daniel Theis suffered a broken nose in Friday’s loss and is questionable for the team’s two-game road trip.
3. Boston won both meetings last season, including 112-109 in overtime at Memphis.
PREDICTION: Celtics 101, Grizzlies 96