WHO: Boston Celtics (50-31, 23-17 away) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (56-25, 30-10 home)
WHEN: 6:00 PM CT
WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, TN
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: TNT/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
BETTING INFORMATION (per DraftKings) – Grizzlies +6.5; O/U 228.5
MEMPHIS: Ja Morant (Questionable, knee management), Santi Aldama (Questionable, Non-Covid Illness), Tyrell Terry (Out, foot), Killian Tillie (Out, knee), Jarrett Culver (Out, knee)
BOSTON: Nik Stauskas (OUT, Ankle), Robert Williams (Out, Knee)
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:
MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr., Steven Adams
BOSTON: Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Derrick White, Grant Williams
The Memphis Grizzlies 2021-2022 season feels like it started just weeks ago, and yet, we have now reached the final game of the regular season.
The Grizzlies welcome the Boston Celtics to FedExForum for the season finale, a finale that, at least for the Grizzlies, has more meaning as a final tune-up for the playoffs more than it is significant for playoff seeding or anything else.
However, just because the the Grizzlies may not have anything tangible to play for in terms of this year, they still do have a bit of reason to be motivated to get the win on Sunday.
For one, they will be attempting to set a new franchise record for regular season wins, surpassing the total of 56 set by the 2012-2013 Grizzles. And for how special this season has been so far for Memphis, if the roster wants to go all out, within reason, to achieve that record, they certainly should be given a chance to do so. In the case of Ja Morant, he could play at least a bit on Sunday for statistical purposes. For Morant to officially be on stat leaderboards for this season. playing in 58 total games, with Sunday being his 58th game, would be essential.
Meanwhile, the Celtics actually do have something to play for. In an Eastern Conference playoff picture that has been tight for months, many teams playoff seeding still matters. As a result, the Celtics will likely be treating this as a regular game, with a clear need to win.
The fun thing is that, in the cases of both the Celtics and the Grizzlies, fans at FedExForum will get to witness two of the best teams since 2022 arrived. They will also get to witness a coaching matchup between two of the most legitimate candidates for Coach of the Year in Ime Udoka and Taylor Jenkins.
While many Grizzlies regulars may not play, we have already seen proof that Memphis can still certainly get the win with their depth. Here a few ways they can succeed against Boston:
Finding the Best Shot Possible
It is not much of a debate that the Boston Celtics have basically been the NBA’s best defensive team since January. Even without Robert Williams, the Celtics lead the NBA in points allowed per game and 2PFG% allowed. As a result, especially after a night in which the Grizzlies were able to score at will, finding success in the lane will likely be extremely tough.
As a result, the Grizzlies will need to take care of the ball and make efficient passes. The Grizzlies have continued to improve their decision making and passing as a whole as the season as progressed, and every bit of that ability will be needed to find the best shot possible on each possession. Even if Ja Morant and Tyus Jones were to play sparingly, the Grizzlies have shown the ability to still succeed on offense. A commitment from the entire roster is a must to earn a victory.
Seizing the Opportunity
Overall, the Grizzlies playoff rotation is likely set. However, there still is an opportunity for one or two players to fully offer reasons as to why they should be apart of the rotation. Ziaire Williams, Kyle Anderson, and John Konchar all will likely play at some point in the playoffs. But to what at extent? A big offensive game against a great defensive team and Eastern Conference contender in the Celtics could certainly help the case of these individuals. While everyone knows the Grizzlies depth is ready to deliver when called upon, one last point of proof is never a bad thing.
Once again, the Memphis Grizzlies have already earned the right to make this an opportunity to rest and relax. However, for a team that seems to rewrite history every time they play, getting the franchise record for wins in a season seems like enough motivation to win. Even if several of the regulars sit out or play very little minutes. the Grizzlies could very much give Boston all they can handle, much like they did against Phoenix nine days ago.
Can history be made once again? We shall see, and if so, it will truly end the best regular season in franchise history on the best note possible.
Final Score: Grizzlies 109 Celtics 104
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