Memphis Grizzlies at Boston
When: 7:00 PM ET, Friday, January 18, 2019
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
BOSTON – The Boston Celtics snapped a slide in impressive fashion on Wednesday and remain a team capable of great performances but lacking consistency. The Celtics will try to put together two consecutive strong games when they host the Memphis Grizzlies tonight.
Boston suffered through a three-game losing streak that included some finger pointing and criticism from point guard Kyrie Irving, but the perennial All-Star seemed ready to work with his young teammates on Wednesday. Irving collected 27 points and a career-high 18 assists in a 117-108 win over the Toronto Raptors and admitted to reporters after the contest that he called former teammate LeBron James after an outburst on Saturday to apologize for his actions when the two were together with Cleveland and to seek advice on leading a team. The Grizzlies don’t lack for veteran leadership with Marc Gasol and Mike Conley around but are missing something after dropping nine of their last 10 games. “We’ll show up tomorrow. We’ll work,” Memphis coach J.B. Bickerstaff told reporters after a 111-101 home loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday. “We’ll show up Friday and we’ll work. That’s all we can do. We have to improve. We have to play better. We’ve shown in stretches that we can play well. We’ve got to play well longer.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FS Southeast (Memphis), NBCS Boston
ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (19-25): Memphis is looking for a spark on the offensive end and inserted swingman Justin Holiday into the starting lineup on Wednesday. Holiday actually did his best work on the defensive end, recording four steals while scoring five points on 1-of-4 shooting in 17 minutes. “We need him to play well,” Bickerstaff told reporters of Holiday. “We need him to feel comfortable so that he can contribute at the level that we think he can. We’ll never do anything to the detriment of the team but when you make a trade for a guy, there’s a commitment to give him some sort of opportunity. … It’s not as if we found him off the streets. He’s got a history of productivity.”
ABOUT THE CELTICS (26-18): Irving, who sat out a loss at Brooklyn on Monday to rest a quad injury, averages 6.7 assists but was on a mission to get his teammates involved on Wednesday. “He’s always been a special playmaker,” Boston coach Brad Stevens told reporters of Irving. “He’s always been able to play with the ball and make plays for himself and others. He’s had that gift since I’ve seen him at under-18 tryouts at USA Basketball. … He obviously draws a lot of attention and he usually can make the right read off of that. He’s a great passer with great touch on his passes.” Irving helped Al Horford (24 points on 9-of-12 shooting) and Gordon Hayward (18 points on 8-of-13) enjoy big nights against the Raptors.
1. Grizzlies SF Omri Casspi scored 17 points on Wednesday and reached double figures in back-to-back games for the first time this season.
2. Celtics C Aron Baynes (hand) returned from a 13-game absence on Wednesday and scored nine points on 4-of-5 shooting.
3. Boston earned a 112-103 victory at Memphis on Dec. 29 behind 26 points and 13 assists from Irving.