The Memphis Grizzlies needed almost all of a 21-point fourth-quarter lead to survive a late push by Boston’s reserves.
Jerryd Bayless scored a season-high 30 points and the Memphis Grizzlies weathered the rally to escape with a 110-106 victory over the Celtics on Saturday night.
”I was just able to make a couple of shots in the beginning and got it going,” said Bayless, who had 20 points in the first half. ”Mike (Conley) was looking for me, (Zach Randolph) was looking for me. A lot of guys got me some good shots, and I was able to knock them down.”
Bayless led seven Memphis players in double figures and three recorded double-doubles. Darrell Arthur, starting for Randolph, scored 18 points, while Randolph had 15 points and 11 rebounds off the bench. Tayshaun Prince and Mike Conley had 12 points apiece, Conley adding 10 assists, Ed Davis scored 11 points, and Tony Allen added 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Conley also had four steals, while Davis blocked five shots, matching his career high.
Paul Pierce led Boston with 26 points, while Jordan Crawford keyed a fourth-quarter rally, scoring 14 of his 21 points in the final frame. Jeff Green finished with 12 points, and Jason Terry had 10, as the Celtics lost their fourth straight.
”I think guys just didn’t want to quit,” Crawford said. ”It was an opportunity for guys to play and try to make a run to win the game. . Everybody stepped up when other guys were down.”
Both teams were without key players. Kevin Garnett and Courtney Lee sat out for Boston with left ankle sprains. Memphis center Marc Gasol is out indefinitely because of an abdominal tear.
”Obviously, we don’t have any room for errors, especially when you have two starters out,” Pierce said. ”So we have to do a better job with turnovers. We have to rebound better.”
The Celtics ended the night with 15 turnovers, leading to 21 Memphis points. Boston also was outrebounded, 44-37.
Randolph didn’t start for disciplinary reasons, after arriving late for Saturday’s shootaround.
Memphis led 98-77 with 7:16 to play after a 3-point play by Conley. Pierce had gone to the bench with his fifth foul, and Boston coach Doc Rivers had the reserves in, seemingly to play out the final minutes.
But the second-stringers began a push that pulled Boston within 104-102 after two free throws by Crawford with 18.9 seconds left.
The Celtics never got closer as Memphis converted all six of its free throws in the final 18.5 seconds.
”They were great,” Rivers said of the bench. ”We basically told them to go in and try to cause havoc, and they did that. I though Jordan was fantastic with his offense and with his passing.”
Memphis, which led by 10 at the intermission, continued to extend the lead in the third, going up by 15 points on several occasions in the middle stages.
As is usually the case with the Grizzlies, defense led to offensive spurts and Memphis forced a handful of Boston turnovers while controlling the pace and eventually leading by 17.
But the Celtics were able to close the third with a bit of a push to trail 85-73 at the end of the period.
Memphis opened the fourth with a 14-4 rally, and the lead reached 21.
But the Celtics reserves weren’t ready to give in. They mounted a 21-4 run to get within 102-98 after Crawford’s long 3-pointer with 1:14 left in the game.
Memphis carried a 61-51 lead into halftime, led by Bayless, who was 8 of 12 from the field, including missing only one of three shots from beyond the arc.
”I thought that (Bayless) gave us a huge lift,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. ”I mean, it was early on, and I didn’t know how we were going to score. JB came in and started making shots and got on a roll and carried us in the first half.”
After the third-quarter rally, Memphis seemed poised to relax down the stretch, and almost relaxed to the point of letting the game slip away.
”That’s been our Achilles’ heel the past couple of years,” said Allen, who played six seasons with the Celtics. ”We’ve got to fix that. We can’t get too lax when we have a lead.”
NOTES: Bayless got a technical in the second quarter when he fouled Crawford on a layup, then pushed him in an after-basket skirmish. … Rivers got a technical foul in the fourth after Pierce was called for a double dribble. … Boston had won five straight in Memphis, the Grizzlies’ last home win in the series coming on March 14, 2006. … Memphis swept the season series against Boston for the first time since the 2000-01 season, the team’s last year in Vancouver. … Memphis has won all four of its home sellouts this season, defeating the Heat, Thunder, Lakers and Celtics on Saturday night before full houses.