Post-game Thread: Celtics-Grizzlies at Memphis

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Post-game Thread: Celtics-Grizzlies at Memphis Empty Post-game Thread: Celtics-Grizzlies at Memphis

Post by Sam Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:42 am

I know BobH will cover this game in detail, but I have to go out for a while and I just want to mention a couple of general observations about the game.

• I can't recall a game in recent memory that produced a larger number of potential recipients of the game ball:

- Bradley for his surprisingly accurate sniping throughout the game as he returned from injury—and especially the dagger with half a minute to go

– Olynyk for his return to form, his three-point shots of adrenalin to the team, and his timely drives to the hoop

– Smart for his amazing defense that just plain stoned the Griz on several occasions and for his leading role in the perfect execution of Brad's inbounds play on which he grabbed the lob down low, hesitated just the right amount of time so he could be going up when his defender was going down, and his spinning "how did he do that?" shot

– Crowder for anchoring the second unit an contributing a veritable menu of major plays, from successfully guarding Randolph toward the latter stages of the game to his fourth quarter threes the basically denied the Griz the opportunity to take over the game 

– Bass for being his usual steady self, which has lately taken on a dimension of being the closest thing the Celtics have to an offensive intimidator

- But, as players go, I'd give my game ball to Pressey because he provided precisely what was needed to minimize the absence of Isaiah Thomas from the bench— in a word, pace!  After a succession of DNPs, he played 18 minutes of pushing the ball, and I happen to believe that fact was the number 1 reason (among many possibilities) why the Celtics won the game.

- However, my game ball unquestionably goes to Brad Stevens for concocting a game plan that kept the Griz at bay throughout and amped up the Celtics' attack just when it was needed most at the end.  He may have drawn up the play of the year in that clutch lob to Smart, and he's been displaying his innovativeness more and more as the season wears on.

• Despite the fact that it's easy to find fault with various aspects of Turner's game, Mike mentioned (I hope I have this right) that Evan ranks second among all players in the league in the number of 6+ assists and 6+ rebounds since January.  And he was the Celtic who threw that perfect lob pass to Smart.  His play reinforces my philosophy that (within certain limits) it's more productive to focus on what a play can do than on what he cannot do.

• It seemed to me that Memphis struggled to find their normal rhythm throughout the game, due very largely to the Celtics' offense. And I believe that lack of rhythm was the main reason why they missed a lot of open shots.  If you don't feel comfortable and "in the flow," sometimes the open shots are the most difficult to make.  The Griz were half a step and half a brain behind the Celtics all night.  And the Celtics actually "out-toughed" the Memphis team.

• The Celtics didn't miss Isaiah's penetration nearly as much as they would have if Olynyk, Bass, Turner and Smart hadn't made it such a point to go to the hoop.

• This team continues to show amazing poise down the stretch.  Whether they're five points down with 30 seconds left or clinging to a one-point lead, there's no sign of panic.  Considering all the young players they have, that's incredible.

• And finally, I loved Heinsohn's characterization of the lob play to Smart.  "They don't really have a go-to-guy, so Brad thought up a go-to play."


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