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OJ Mayo’s near perfect FG pct. was a microcosm of the near perfection the Memphis Grizzlies (34-31) achieved against the Boston Celtics (40-23) on Wednesday night at the TD Garden. The second year shooting guard out of USC made seven of eight shots for a total of 17 points, and went 2/3 from beyond the arc in a 111-91 blowout victory over the Celtics.
Memphis jumped out to an early lead, outscoring Boston 27-12 in the first quarter, and never looked back. Each time the Celtics threatened to make a run, the Grizzlies had an answer. Rudy Gay led the visitors with 28 points and nine rebounds to go along with two assists, one steal, and and one block (that’s a pretty full stat sheet).
It was a bad loss for the Celtics, no matter how you look at it. So bad that the team was greeted by a chorus of booes as they entered the locker room at the half down 22 points.
“They just came in and totally annihilated us,” said Kevin Garnett, who continued to struggle on the offensive end, finishing with just six points on 3/9 shooting.
The Celtics were out-rebounded 48-29 and were banged around inside all night. Memphis forwards Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol had 10 rebounds apiece and had their way with Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett in the paint. Boston’s interior tandem combined for just 10 points and 13 rebounds in what was an all-around embarrassing performance. The 20-point loss matched the C’s worst loss of the season (the other was a February loss to Cleveland).
In Boston’s defense, they looked tired, playing less than 24 hours after a draining 86-84 loss at the the Milwaukee Bucks. Plus, some credit should be given to the Grizzlies, who are currently competing for the final playoff spot in an extremely competitive Western Conference. They appeared in the January 29th edition of our NBA Power Rankings, and are absolutely loaded with young talent.
The Celtics host Indiana on Friday night before they travel to Cleveland to take on LeBron James and company on Sunday afternoon (3:30 PM ABC).