Grizzlies' Ja Morant brings hot hand to Boston

·3 min read

The Boston Celtics will host the Memphis Grizzlies in a matchup between two of the NBA's hottest teams on Thursday night.

Both sides will look to build upon recent home victories. Boston came from behind to defeat Atlanta 107-98 on Tuesday, and Memphis used Ja Morant's 52 points to down San Antonio one night earlier, 118-105.

The Celtics overcame a 17-point deficit against the Hawks. Jayson Tatum had a game-high 33 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

Derrick White and Grant Williams both scored 18 off the bench, stepping up after Jaylen Brown exited in the first quarter with a right-ankle sprain. Brown played just 2:48.

Celtics coach Ime Udoka said Brown's ankle was a bit sore and swollen. While Brown wanted to return to the court, he was kept out and will be reevaluated in the coming days.

"Offensively it felt like we were a little, I don't know, shell-shocked with Jaylen going out," Udoka said. "We kind of had to figure out how we were going to attack it, and Derrick was ... huge handling, scoring, distributing, defensively, all the way around."

Boston started the second half on a 14-point run and held a 31-13 scoring edge in the third quarter. Williams hit a pair of clutch 3-pointers in the final frame to help close out the team's 12th win in 14 games and third in four since the All-Star break.

"We can't let doubt creep into our minds," said guard Marcus Smart, who had 16 points, six rebounds and four assists. "We're going to have games like this. It's just how we respond. We just challenged ourselves to go out there and respond. We want to be the first team to hit in that second half, and we did."

The Grizzlies have won eight of their 10 games since the beginning of February, including back-to-back triumphs paced by Morant's career efforts.

Two nights after Morant scored 46 points in Chicago, he upped the franchise record to 52 on 22-of-30 shooting against San Antonio. The first 50-point game in franchise history marked his 22nd 30-point game this season.

"I'm thankful for my teammates, my coaches," Morant said. "They believe in me and have all the confidence in the world that I'll make the right plays."

De'Anthony Melton had 15 points and six rebounds to support another special Morant performance, which included a highlight dunk over the Spurs' 7-foot center Jakob Poeltl.

"He's at the rim every night, but the way he put it together tonight, he was just in attack mode from the jump," Melton said. "He got whatever he wanted, and it looked easy out there. It was just special to be out there and watch that."

Tyus Jones scored 13, and Kyle Anderson contributed nine points, nine rebounds and six assists off the bench against the Spurs. Steven Adams had 14 boards, five assists and three blocks.

The two teams will meet again in the regular-season finale April 10 in Memphis.

They haven't matched up in nearly a year dating to March 22, 2021, when Memphis earned a 132-126 overtime win to snap a 10-game skid in the head-to-head series. Morant posted a game-high 29 points and nine assists.

--Field Level Media