There was a sea of green in a den of blue in FedExForum on Saturday night. The Boston Celtics were in town to face the Memphis Grizzlies in front of a sold-out crowd. Celtics fans traveled from nearby cities to see their still-favored Eastern conference team.
But neither the Celtics nor their fans could hold off the Memphis Grizzlies, who won the game 110-106 without All-Star Marc Gasol. The seven-foot center re-aggravated an abdominal tear the night before when Grizzlies fell to the New Orleans Hornets on the road. The injury was originally sustained on March 6 when they faced the Portland Trailblazers.
Grizzlies guard Mike Conley said his game plan going without Gasol was to be quick and share the ball.
"It was not to be slow and walk the ball," Conley said. "We wanted to have a good pace to our offense and let everybody touch the ball. We didn't know who was going to make up those points that Marc obviously puts up. JB (Jerryd Bayless) set the fuse for us and we will obviously take that every night."
Bayless came up big for the Grizzlies once again. He scored a season-high 30 points off the bench. Memphis went into the locker room at halftime up by 10 (61-51) after going on a 21-7 run in the second quarter. Bayless scored 20 points in the first half.
"I thought JB gave us a huge lift," said Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins. "I mean, it was early on and I didn't know how we were going to score. JB came in and started making shots and got on a roll and carried us in the first half."
Darrell Arthur was in the starting lineup for the Grizzlies, finishing with 18 points. Zach Randolph recorded his 40th double-double of the season, with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
In the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies started to let up on defense and the Celtics started to chip away at the the deficit. Boston came within four points after a three-point shot by Jordan Crawford.
"It got to the fourth quarter when they made the subs and we were up 18," Hollins said. "I think everybody thought the game was over. I didn't think so. Sure enough, it wasn't. They were just trying to get some different guys in the game and hoping we would let up mentally and we did.
"Then we got tired. That was also a part of the fourth quarter as well," said Hollins. "We got tired. We played a hard game last night, but I'll take the win."
Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 26 points, six rebounds and four assists. Crawford followed with 21 points and was 9-for-10 from the free throw line.
NOTE: The Grizzlies will face the Washington Wizards on the road tonight.