Memphis (30-22) at Boston (26-26)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Boston, MA
Temp: 73° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Wed Feb 16, 2005
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Memphis Grizzlies, struggling on offense, may again be without starters Pau Gasol and Jason Williams when they visit the Boston Celtics.

Gasol and Williams sat out Memphis’ 76-73 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Sunday. Gasol, the Grizzlies’ leading scorer (18.9) and rebounder (8.2), has been out with a foot injury since Jan. 25 and is not expected back until after the All-Star break.

Williams is out with a sore left foot, and his status for this game is uncertain.

The Grizzlies were led Sunday by Lorenzen Wright, who had 18 points and 13 rebounds, but shot even worse than they did in Friday’s 88-82 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. In that game, Memphis shot 35.7 percent. On Sunday, the Grizzlies were 34.7 percent from the field.

Despite the recent struggles, Memphis remains firmly entrenched in the Western Conference playoff race. The seventh-place Grizzlies are 3 1/2 games ahead of the eighth-place Los Angeles Lakers.

“Considering the circumstances that we’ve been in with our best players on the injured list and us not having had a chance to get any kind of consistency going all year, I like where we’re at,” Grizzlies swingman Shane Battier said.

Against Boston, Memphis has a good opportunity to improve its play on offense. The Grizzlies set a season high in points scored in a 117-109 win over the Celtics on Dec. 29. Boston ranks near the bottom of the league in scoring defense, allowing 99 points per game.

The Celtics lost at home for the first time in five games Sunday, 104-100 to the Sacramento Kings. Boston won 15 of its previous 19 home games.

LaFrentz scored 25 points, going 4-for-8 from 3-point range, and had nine rebounds as the Celtics topped 100 points for the 27th time this season. Paul Pierce scored 22 points, and Gary Payton had 12 points, nine assists and five steals.

LaFrentz is averaging 15.2 points and 9.2 rebounds in his last five games.

Pierce has played well against Memphis in his career, averaging 23.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.3 steals in 12 games.

STANDINGS (through Feb. 14): Grizzlies - 4th place, 10 GB, Southwest Division. Celtics - 1st place (tied), Atlantic Division.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Grizzlies - F Battier, F Stromile Swift, C Wright, G Williams or Dahntay Jones, G Earl Watson. Celtics - F Pierce, F LaFrentz, C Mark Blount, G Gary Payton, G Tony Allen.

TEAM LEADERS: Grizzlies - Gasol, 18.9 ppg and 8.2 rpg; Williams, 6.2 apg. Celtics - Pierce, 22 ppg; LaFrentz, 7.6 rpg; Payton, 6.2 apg.

SEASON SERIES: Grizzlies, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Dec. 29; Grizzlies, 117-109. At Memphis, Tenn., Gasol had 24 points and 11 rebounds as the Grizzlies overcame an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Grizzlies - 12-13 on the road; Celtics - 18-9 at home.

INJURIES: Grizzlies - G-F James Posey (Achilles’); F Gasol (foot); G Andre Emmett (ankle); G Williams (foot). Celtics - F Al Jefferson (ankle); F-C Michael Stewart (knee).

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