A bold claim from Memphis star Ja Morant backfired as the Grizzlies suffered their ninth defeat in 12 games, this time falling to the undermanned Boston Celtics.
Meanwhile, the Raptors’ sudden decision not to trade a pair of their top stars paid off early, as Toronto duo Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam combined for a big win over the Pistons.
It’s the NBA wrap today!
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Tuesday 14 February
Tuesday 14 February
Jimmy Buckets Bell Beater! | 00:25
Morant is still “smooth” with the sweat getting worse
In an interview with ESPN last December, Ja Morant said Memphis was “good in the West” and just needed to worry about the Boston Celtics of the Eastern Conference moving forward.
But if today’s game were to take on them, they might have something to worry about in the East.
Morant and his Grizzlies entered Boston’s TD Garden hoping to upset the Eastern Conference leading Celtics, but instead were left humiliated 119-109 by losing a host of the biggest names to Boston.
Despite the absence of superstars Jaylen Brown, Malcolm Brogdon and Marcus Smart through injury and superstar Jason Tatum after a night of shooting under heavy defensive pressure from Dillon Brooks – he finished with three of 16 from the ground and missed all eight of his shots in the second half – Boston pulled away in Coming comfortably late for Memphis.
In an ominous sign for the rest of the league’s opponents, the Celtics demonstrated the ridiculous depth of their roster as seven players scored double-goals while flexing championship muscle in front of 19,156 raucous home fans – sweeping the two-game regular season. Series between a pair of title hopefuls.
“Whether it’s a good shooting night or a bad shooting night, the ultimate goal is to win (so I have to) find a way to contribute to the win. Whether that’s putting up screens, being a decoy, or being a decoy,” Tatum said during his post-game interview. Stop.
“…whoever’s in, whoever’s out, we have the next guy mentality and the goal is always the same every night and that’s to find a way to win.”
While the Grizzlies pulled off small wins by controlling points in the paint (60-34) and quick-break points (14-7), they dominated the boards (34-54)—especially on offensive glass (3-14)—and failed to Matching Boston’s depth shooting prowess (12 three-pointers to Celtics’ 21).
Memphis found themselves down by 13 points at halftime before a 13-point third quarter from super guard Morant – with several standout reel plays – saw them come back strongly to briefly take the lead late in the period before trailing Boston by one point. in match. Final break.
The Celtics were still only up by one point in the fourth quarter until Derrick White — who led them with 23 points and 10 assists — scored six quick points to lead them to a 16-7 lead that put them up 104-94 with just over four points to go. minutes left.
Veteran Al Horford stepped forward, hitting three shots from behind the arc in the final five minutes to keep the Grizzlies at bay as he finished with 16 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
Sam Hauser scored 20 points on six three-pointers, while big man Robert Williams III continued to show his importance to the team with 10 points and 16 rebounds.
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The victory, their fourth in a row, improves their league-best record to 41-16 and extends their lead at the top of the Eastern Conference to a game and a half before their powerhouse showdown with the second-place Bucks. in Milwaukee on Wednesday (AEDT).
Meanwhile, the loss leaves Memphis, currently No. 2 in the West, with a 34-22 record this season to trail the first-place Nuggets by four and a half games as the NBA gears toward the All-Star break.
But Morant has not retracted his earlier comments.
“I don’t care. Honestly. I said what I said, and I mean it.
The confidence I had when I said this is the confidence that got us to the point where we are now – being one of the best teams in this league,” he said.
This is despite a commercial period that saw Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving join Western rivals Dallas and Phoenix, respectively.
But Morant is not distraught. “Yeah, my confidence will never change. I don’t care who has something to say about it.”
Morant led the Grizzlies with 25 points, seven assists and six rebounds, while Desmond Bane had 18 points and Jaren Jackson Jr. – who struggled badly throughout the game before losing late in the fourth game – had 15 points and seven rebounds in the rout.
VANVLEET, SIAKAM ARE LEADING BIG WHILE THE RAPTORS SURVIVE THE LATE FARE
Fred Van Fleet, with 35 points, hit six three-pointers and had eight assists as he recorded his ninth career-high game with 30 or more points this season, while Pascal Siakam scored 28 points to go along with six assists of his own. . He led the Toronto Raptors to a decisive 119-118 victory over the Detroit Pistons.
After the front office decided to keep both VanVleet and Siakam in Toronto despite persistent speculation they could be moved before last Friday’s trade deadline, the duo repaid the faith shown in them by team basketball operations chief Masai Ujiri by helping the Raptors record their fourth win in the season. Five games.
“It’s definitely fun to have a couple of players that you can coach the team with,” said Toronto assistant coach Adrian Griffin, who led the team in this match with coach Nick Nurse for personal reasons.
Detroit head coach Duane Casey agreed.
“They were the difference in the game,” said Casey, who coached both Vanfleet and Sikham during his time coaching the Raptors.
“They carried the team, they did a great job.”
However, not all was smooth sailing for Toronto. After leading 53-52 going into the main break, the Raptors appeared to pull away as they went up 85-77 in the fourth quarter before Detroit came back to cut the margin to 116-113 when Jaden Ivey hit a three-pointer with 10.1 seconds remaining.
The Toronto crowd must have been in a state of déjà vu as their team looked like they were missing out on another near-certain win after a 12-point lead going into the final five minutes of Saturday’s (AEDT) loss at home to Utah.
Fortunately for Raptors fans, VanVleet stepped up to hit a pair of clutch free throws and Precious Achiuwa made one of two after Piston forward Bojan Bogdanovic hit both of his free throws to negate VanVleet’s layup.
Then Ivey hit a 28-foot buzzer putter to cut his team’s margin of loss to one point.
Sophomore forward Scotty Barnes contributed 20 points and Uchiwa had a double-double (11 points, 11 rebounds) as Toronto improved to 27-31, putting them just ahead of the Chicago Bulls in the race for the final game in the Eastern Conference. spot.
With the loss, Detroit fell to 15-43 on the season, and now found themselves tied with the Charlotte Hornets for the worst record in the East.
Bojan Bogdanovic was gutsy in defeat, scoring 33 points, Alec Burks scored 21, and Hamidou Diallo and Ivey scored 18 each for the Pistons, as 18 complete turnovers came back to haunt the team.
“We have to be smarter with the ball, stronger with the ball,” Detroit coach Casey said after the game.
“A lot of our spin was self-inflicted, he didn’t throw it to anyone, he just threw it in the air.”
NBA records from February 12th
Celtics 119-109 Grizzlies
Raptors 119 – 118 Pistons
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