Before Boston sports fans watch the New England Patriots and New York Giants meet in Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday, they will be treated to an exciting NBA matchup between the Memphis Grizzlies and Boston Celtics at noon.
The Celtics earned a hard-fought win on Friday night when they beat the New York Knicks 91-89 at the TD Garden. Boston is now 12-10 after a poor start to the season and have won seven of their last eight games.
The Grizzlies have struggled at times this season and are just 12-11, good for fourth place in the Southwest division. Memphis also played on Friday, losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder 101-94 on the road.
Let's look at everything you need to know about this awesome NBA matchup.
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
When: Sunday, Feb. 5 at 12:00 p.m. EST
Watch: Comcast Sportsnet New England
Listen: 850 AM WEEI
Betting Line: TBD
Key Injuries (Courtesy USA Today)
Celtics center Jermaine O'Neal is questionable with a knee injury.
Celtics guard Marquis Daniels is questionable with an ankle injury.
Grizzlies don't have any players listed as probable, questionable, or doubtful for Sunday's game.
What's At Stake
For Memphis, a win against a quality Eastern Conference opponent would be a nice confidence booster for this young team.
The Grizzlies have played very well in Boston since Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen came to the Celtics. Last year they the beat the Celtics in Boston in a close game.
For the Celtics, a win would continue their winning ways and would be their fourth straight victory. It will be a good test for Boston, who has struggled against Western Conference teams this season, especially at the Garden.
What They're Saying
Celtics head coach Doc Rivers talked about his team's win against the Knicks, via the Boston Globe:
“It was one of those games, I told our guys, two weeks ago we absolutely lose,’’ coach Doc Rivers said. “We never established rhythm on either end. But we just hung in there. And in the second half I just thought our defense - we had the one timeout, we were still down like 6, it was frustrating; guys were missing shots, turning the ball over. And I just said, ‘Guys, our defense is bailing us out. Let’s . . . this is going to be a defensive win. And we’re just going to hang in there, and somehow we’re going to steal this.’ And you rarely say you ‘steal a game’ at home, but that’s how it felt. We just hung in there long enough to make plays.’’
Most Important Player to Watch: Rajon Rondo
Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo ended his injury absence on Friday to help the team beat the New York Knicks.
Rondo is the Celtics' most exciting player and his exceptional defense and playmaking gives the team a huge boost.
If Rondo is energetic early in the game, the Celtics will be in great shape. He sets the tone for the entire game for Boston.
Key Matchup: Point guard battle
Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley and Rondo for Boston will be the matchup to watch in this game. Both floor generals lead their team's energy level and provide a spark at both ends of the floor.
Memphis is only 23rd in the NBA in assists per game, so Conley needs to do a better job of getting his teammates quality shots. It will be a interesting to watch how he balances creating his own offense with getting his teammates involved.
Prediction: Celtics win 95-88
The Celtics are playing fantastic right now and will be well rested at home when the Grizzlies come into town.
Rondo has given the Celtics a tremendous boost at both ends of the floor and Ray Allen is having an amazing season. Boston has too much scoring and a better bench than Memphis. They should win this game on Sunday.
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