The Commercial Appeal

Grizzlies can’t keep up with Celtics in loss on ABC

- Damichael Cole

Games against elite teams seem to heighten the strengths and weaknesses of a team, and that’s what Sunday’s ABC game against the Boston Celtics did for the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies struggled from beyond the arc, even though adding shooting was a priority during the NBA Trade Deadline. Memphis is the No. 1 rebounding team in the NBA when Steven Adams is healthy, but teams are having more success on the glass against Memphis without the injured Adams.

The Celtics dominated the rebounding and 3-point shooting to defeat the Grizzlies 119-109 at TD Garden.

Memphis (34-22) got a strong defensive effort from Dillon Brooks, but fellow defensive stalwart Jaren Jackson Jr. fouled out after playing 20 minutes. Jackson had 15 points, seven rebounds and was plus-seven.

Boston (41-17) got huge performanc­es from its supporting cast as star player Jayson Tatum struggled from the field. Even though Tatum didn’t make a field goal in the second half, the Boston offense was firing away from 3-point range.

Here are some takeaways from the game.

Battle of the beasts

Both the Celtics and Grizzlies were missing key pieces, but there was still plenty of skill on the floor. The Grizzlies remain without Adams, and Boston was without All-star Jaylen Brown and reigning Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart. Memphis star point guard Ja Morant had a dominant third quarter, and Tatum got off to a strong start, but it was the supporting casts that made the difference.

Derrick White made big baskets for Boston, and Sam Hauser and Payton Pritchard combined to hit 10 3-pointers. Celtics center Robert Williams also was a major reason why Boston had one of the most dominant rebounding games against the Grizzlies this season.

Contrastin­g styles

The difference in offensive styles was showcased on Sunday. Boston is one of the NBA’S elite 3-point shooting teams, while the Grizzlies rank in the bottom third. Memphis is the NBA’S top paint scoring team, and the the Celtics are 27th in the NBA. Memphis dominated the game in the paint while Boston missed easy shots around the basket, but 3-pointers are worth more than 2pointers. The Celtics dominated from beyond the arc, while Memphis struggled. Boston made 21 3-pointers to the Grizzlies’ 12.

First look at Luke Kennard

Trade deadline acquisitio­n Luke Kennard got his first action in a Grizzlies uniform. Kennard went scoreless in the first half. He made a technical free throw after a take foul in the third quarter for his first point, then he hit a clutch 3-pointer near the end of the third quarter to get Memphis within one heading to the fourth. Kennard scored four points on 1for-4 shooting.

What’s next

The Grizzlies will have one more game before the NBA All-star break. Memphis will host the Utah Jazz on Wednesday at Fedexforum (7 p.m., Bally Sports Southeast). This will be the fourth and final meeting between the Jazz and Grizzlies. Utah has won two of the previous three matchups, but the Jazz dealt Mike Conley, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt at the trade deadline.

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