Tatum scores 34 points to lead Celtics past short-handed Grizzlies
BOSTON (AP) — Jayson Tatum scored 34 points before sitting out the final quarter and the NBA-leading Boston Celtics cruised to a 131-91 victory over the injury-depleted Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night.
Coming off a disappointing loss Thursday night against a Los Angeles Lakers team missing LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Celtics faced a squad with only eight available players because 13 were on the injury report.
“I thought we did our job,” Boston coach Joe Mazzulla said when asked about his team's response. “I thought the game went how it was supposed to go. I thought we played well, we executed and we came with the right mindset.”
Boston’s reserves played nearly the entire final quarter.
Scotty Pippen Jr. led the Grizzlies with 19 points. GG Jackson had 18 and David Roddy 14.
“These guys have been ready for this opportunity," Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said about the short bench. ”They stepped out and I thought they played great tonight. ... This was fun watching them play against the best team in the NBA."
Boston was without All-Star forward Jaylen Brown because of a back injury.
Marcus Smart, who spent his first nine seasons in the NBA with the Celtics before being traded in a three-team deal that landed them Porzingis. Smart didn’t play for Memphis because of a right ring finger injury.
“It was good to see him today,” Horford said. “My time here with him was very special. One of the reasons I came here originally in 2016 was Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart.”
With the game well in hand, the crowd broke into a chant of “Thank You, Marcus! Thank You, Marcus!”
The Celtics honored Smart with the “Hero Among Us” award during the second quarter for his charitable contributions in the area and had a video tribute midway into the opening quarter that sparked the fans to loudly chant: “We love Marcus! We love Marcus!”
“It was cool to see,” Tatum said of the video and a loud ovation from the fans. “I'm surprised he didn't cry.”
“There’s nothing like playing in this place, playing in this city,” Smart said during a pregame packed press conference before visiting his old locker room. “These fans, they allowed me to grow. … Boston is a second home for me.”
Grizzlies: At New York on Tuesday night.
Celtics: Host Atlanta on Wednesday night.
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