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Grizzlies beat Celtics without Gasol

The SportsXchange

BOSTON -- The Memphis Grizzlies are trying to get used to life without center Marc Gasol, who is likely to miss a month with a knee sprain.

The task isn't easy. After all, Gasol is the reigning NBA defensive player of the year and a very large presence in the middle.

On Wednesday night, playing their second full game without their big man, the Grizzlies led almost all the way, holding off a wild late charge by Boston and ending their two-game losing streak with a 100-93 victory over the Celtics.

"Obviously, we're going to have to do it by committee. His presence can't be filled by one guy. We're going to have to do it together," guard Tony Allen said after his team raised its record to 8-7 with its second win over the Celtics.

"But guys went down in previous seasons," Allen said. "One year we lost Rudy (Gay). Next year we lost Z (Zach Randolph). Now this year we lost Marc. We just gotta understand it's a lot of games left and we're going to have to pull through for him until he gets back."

Gasol was averaging 16 points and 7.1 rebounds per game when he went down; those numbers dropped when he got hurt early in the Nov. 22 game.

On Wednesday night, two unheralded Memphis big men, Kosta Koufas and Ed Davis, combined for 18 points and 20 rebounds.

"We're going to need those guys to bring that energy night in and night out," said Allen, the former Celtic who had 12 points. "It always feels good coming back to Boston and getting a win, for me personally."

"It was good energy tonight," said rookie coach Dave Joerger. "I know Kostas shot 3 for 11 tonight, but he did a good job of owning the paint in the first half."

The Celtics, down by 13 with 2:40 left, rode a personal 10-2 run by forward Jared Sullinger to get to within five, and it was down to four on a Jeff Green 3-pointer with 21.5 seconds left. A 3-pointer by guard Avery Bradley made it 96-93 with 14.4 seconds remaining.

Guard Jerryd Bayless, who had a season-high 22 points off the bench, hit two free throws with 13 seconds left and hit two more with 2.7 remaining.

"I haven't been playing well lately and hopefully this can be the monkey off my back and get back to the way I was playing," said Bayless, who scored 15 points in his team's first win over Boston.

Boston's two-game winning streak ended as it lost to Memphis for the fourth game in a row.

The Grizzlies got 14 points and nine assists from guard Mike Conley. Forward Zach Randolph, their leading scorer, went just 5-for-16 from the floor and scored 13 points to go with seven rebounds. Koufas grabbed 13 rebounds.

Sullinger's late charge, which included a pair of 3-pointers, gave him 23 points and 11 rebounds, and Green had 26 points and seven boards. Forward Brandon Bass grabbed 13 rebounds, matching his career high, and Bradley scored 16 points.

"That's the fight we gotta have all game," Green said of the late charge. "We got in a hole early in the first quarter, but it was great to see us battling. But we can't put ourselves in that position."

The Celtics (6-11) scored the first basket of the game, a 3-pointer by Jordan Crawford, but 3-2 was their final lead as the Grizzlies went on a 10-2 run to take early control. It was 16-13 when Memphis scored the last 11 points of the first quarter and the first two of the second.

The run grew to 22-6 and the lead grew to 19 points. It was 13 at the break as the Grizzlies shot an even 50 percent in the half.

"The difference in the game was the first quarter," said Celtics rookie coach Brad Stevens. "Even when we were down 15 with three minutes left, that was the difference in the game."

NOTES: Boston guard Courtney Lee left the game with a left knee injury. Rookie F Kelly Olynyk missed his third straight game with an ankle sprain; F Brandon Bass made his third straight start with Olynyk out. Bass was 12-for-21 and scored 33 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the road wins at Atlanta and Charlotte before matching his career high with 13 rebounds Wednesday night. ... The Grizzlies return home to face the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night, while the Celtics host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night. ... Celtics F Jeff Green took the microphone before the opening tip, welcoming the fans and wishing the crowd a happy Thanksgiving, adding, "And be safe."
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