The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
White scores 23, leads Celtics’ scramble to hold off Grizzlies
Derrick White scored 23 points to help a shorthanded Boston team hold off Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies 119-109 on Sunday.
Sam Hauser added 20 points, tying his career-high with six 3-pointers, Al Horford had 16 points and Payton Pritchard 12 for Boston, which won its fourth straight. Celtics star Jayson Tatum didn’t have his sharpest game, finishing with 16 points but making 3 of 16 shots and missing 7 of 8 3-point attempts.
Morant led the Grizzlies with 25 points, seven assists and six rebounds, while Desmond Bane scored 18 and Jaren Jackson Jr. had 15 points and seven rebounds.
Boston was without starting point guard Marcus Smart, who missed his 10th straight with a bone bruise in his right ankle, as well as forward Jaylen Brown (facial fracture he suffered from an inadvertent elbow by Tatum) and reserve guard Malcolm Brogdon (sore Achilles).
The Celtics were clinging to a one-point lead early in the final quarter before White scored six points — with a conventional threepoint play and 3-pointer from the right wing — during a 16-7 spurt that moved them ahead 104-94 with just over four minutes to play.
Horford nailed three 3-pointers in the final five minutes.
Trailing by 13 at halftime, the Grizzlies used a 13-point third quarter by Morant that featured one-handed driving baskets, flips in the lane and twisting shots to wipe out the deficit, taking the lead briefly late in the third,
The Grizzlies’ road struggles continued, dropping them to 11-17 away from home.
“How do you correct that?” coach Taylor Jenkins said before the game. “It’s got to be a mentality, for sure, obviously you trust all the work you’re putting in. … Guys have to be even more confident together on the road. We know what our standard is and that’s what it’s about and we don’t live up to that standard on the road.”
Jeannine Russell, wife of late Celtics legend Bill Russell, was seated courtside. She got a standing ovation when the PA announcer welcomed her.
Grizzlies center Steven Adams missed his 10th consecutive game with a knee injury.
Williamson’s absence extended
New Orleans Pelicans All-star Zion Williamson has aggravated his previously injured right hamstring, extending the timeline for his return to “multiple weeks past Allstar break,” basketball operations chief David Griffin said Sunday.
Griffin said Williamson, who has been averaging 26 points per game this season, had progressed to the point where he was able to participate in 3-on-3 drills in practice and was on the court when he experienced his setback.
When asked how Williamson handled the setback emotionally, Griffin said, “it’s fair to say not terribly well because he was really diligent in his rehab.”
“Unfortunately this is an injury that has a very high incidence of recurrence,” Griffin said.
Williamson has missed 20 straight games since Jan. 2.