The Memphis Grizzlies visited the TD Garden for a game against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night. The contest was a lopsided affair and represented the C’s at their apex.
I had the luxury of going to my first Boston Celtics game in three years on Wednesday night. Brad Stevens and company faced off against the Memphis Grizzlies; a team that’s currently fighting for an 8th seed in a crowded western conference.
It was a matchup that I was thoroughly looking forward too. Ja Morant, the most exciting rookie of the 2019 NBA season, was coming to town to challenge All-Star heat maker Kemba Walker in an extraordinary point guard battle. The former is averaging 17 points and seven assists per game to go along with 48 percent shooting.
My favorite moment from him came in a game against the Brooklyn Nets, where he went toe-to-toe with Kyrie Irving in a classic overtime October shootout. He’ll probably win Rookie of the Year.
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Being Back in Boston was equal parts nostalgic and annoying for me. As always, the traffic to get into the downtown area was irritatingly slow.
People were blocking intersections, beeping, and screaming obscenities into the thin winter air. Rush hour had just ended, so people who hadn’t gotten home yet desperately wanted to get home.
After trying a delicious slice of pizza from this place called Halftime’s (it is absolutely packed before Celtics and Bruins games), my college suitemates and I ascended into the streets of Boston. The city’s aura was arguably just as intriguing as the game itself.
There was a drunk street performer who stopped us to freestyle rap. There was a phenomenal musician who played the saxophone over an archetypical trap beat. The weather was noticeably warmer inside the city’s walls because science tells us that’s what happens (I think).
The arena itself hasn’t changed a lot. The seats are now painted black instead of yellow, which is fantastic because I always felt like the yellow color was an unnecessary eyesore.
They played a lot of Roddy Rich to hype up the crowd and the players and even invited a Harvard college student to sing the national anthem. Her voice was honestly almost too good for a measly regular-season game in January.
The ice cream was great but very expensive (like seven bucks maybe?), and our seats were way up in the balcony because we’re all on that college budget.
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting too much from the Celtics that night. They had just bulldozed a Finals-level Los Angeles Lakers team by over 30 points a couple of nights before but came into Wednesday night without Jaylen Brown.
It also just felt like one of those games where Boston would play to Memphis’ level. That’s what normally happens after a euphoric blowout.
Instead, my friends and I witnessed an even bigger torment laid out by the Boston Celtics. Gordon Hayward was banging threes, Jayson Tatum went back to his slasher ways, and Marcus Smart had one or two passes that probably shouldn’t have gotten through but somehow did.
The C’s would win 119-95 off the backs of six players who finished in double digits for points. This was arguably the best offensive output of the season for the Celtics.
At one point, they were on a 51-16 run after Memphis had been up by seven early in the second quarter. Boston never looked back.
The street performers weren’t the only people making music that night. The Celtics were moving the ball with harmony and prowess.
I felt like I was watching the end of Coach Carter, when the team finally figures everything out just at the right time. Everything looked like an orchestration, played out by one of the NBA’s great maestros, Coach Stevens.
Smart and Walker were able to contain Morant, who only finished with two points on 1-5 shooting. Jaren Jackson Jr. and Jonas Valancjunas were the only real threats to Boston because of our undersized centers (an issue that I’ve talked about before).
For the most part though, the Celtics looked overpowering. They shot 50 percent as a team and extended their lead to over 30 at one point. Even better; we were able to leave early to beat that aforementioned traffic! It was a win-win for everyone involved.
The Celtics are in the midst of a surreal three-game stretch. They also just came back down 16 to beat the Orlando Magic on Friday night to improve their record to 30-14, which is fourth in a tough Eastern Conference.
Next up for the C’s is Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday night.