The Boston Celtics were handed another loss on the road by the highly-energetic Memphis Grizzlies in a close affair. Ja Morant and co. dominated the boards to escape with a 132-126 win in overtime. The Grizzlies also had a whopping 80 points in the paint as compared to 54 for Brad Stevens' men.
The Boston Celtics were without the services of Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker on Monday night. Jeff Teague was promoted to the starting lineup in the absence of the latter and made the most of the opportunity. Jaylen Brown needed to step up in the absence of Tatum but he wasn't entirely up to the task.
On that note, let's look at the hits and flops from the Memphis Grizzlies' win against the Boston Celtics.
#1 Hit: Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies)
Ja Morant made most of his living at the rim and was able to get closer to the basket with ease against the Boston Celtics. Morant used his burst of speed to attack the paint and finished with a silky touch once in range.
He wasn't as effective from distance but Morant brought out the floaters, mid-rangers and dunks to finish with 29 points. His chemistry with Jonas Valanciunas and the rest of the Memphis Grizzlies teammates was on point as Morant managed nine assists on the night. He was a menace on the boards and grabbed two vital offensive rebounds, including one in overtime.
#2 Flop: Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics)
Marcus Smart was hot from the field to start off the game. He made three quick buckets from downtown in the first quarter but fizzled out entirely post that. In fact, his next field goal came with 2:30 left to play in the fourth quarter.
Smart did draw a charge late in the game with the Memphis Grizzlies leading big and was also involved in the final four points in regulation to bring the Boston Celtics level. But he went missing in overtime again. He finished with 16 points on 5-of-14 shooting from the field.
#3 Hit: Jonas Valaciunas (Memphis Grizzlies)
Jonas Valanciunas has quietly had a terrific season and the big Lithuanian was at it again on Monday. Valanciunas acted as an immovable rock in the paint for the Boston Celtics defenders as he finished with 16 points and 19 rebounds. His screens also created several lanes to the rim for Ja Morant to attack.
Valanciunas' biggest contribution came in the third quarter. He grabbed eight boards and made four buckets from close range to help the Memphis Grizzlies erase Boston's lead and take control of proceedings.
#4 Flop: Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics)
Jaylen Brown was expected to take the vanguard for the Boston Celtics in Jayson Tatum's absence, but the first-time All-Star was sluggish to start the game. He did bounce back in the second half where the rest of his teammates faltered and scored a crucial 19 points during this juncture to take the game into overtime.
Brown was absolutely pedestrian in the added period against the Memphis Grizzlies. He looked out of gas and committed silly fouls on the likes of Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks. He only managed a solitary point in overtime as the Boston Celtics slumped to their 22nd loss of the season. He finished with 27 points on 11-of-24 shooting.
#5 Hit: Jeff Teague (Boston Celtics)
Jeff Teague was the only Boston Celtics player who exceeded expectations on the night. Teague waltzed around the Memphis Grizzlies defenders to score 26 points on 10-of-12 shooting, with most of his field goals coming from close range. This included six out of the nine points that Boston scored in overtime.
Teague received extra attention from the Memphis Grizzlies down the stretch due to his efficient scoring. He made good use of the aggressive closeouts to create open looks for his teammates and finished with six assists on the night.