On a night when everyone on the roster seemed to contribute in their own way, the Boston Celtics disposed of a tough-nosed opponent the Memphis Grizzlies, in convincing fashion.
Gordon Hayward scored 12 points on 4-of-7 from the field, adding four assists and three rebounds, and he was one of six Celtics in double figures, while all 12 players to get on the court scored at least two, in the dominant 119-95 win. After the victory, Gordon credited Boston’s defense, which forced 16 turnovers and had Memphis shooting at a 42.4 percent clip through the night.
“I think when we’re able to get stops and we can run in transition, that’s when we’re really, really lethal because we have so many guys that can bring it up,” Gordon said. “You just get it and go and you don’t have to wait for one guy to bring it up. And I think when we were able to be as active as we’ve been defensively, and get deflections where we don’t have to keep walking the ball up the court through a set defense, that’s when we’re pretty good.”
Boston’s defense wasn’t quite there in the first quarter, and they were outscored 27-25, and despite all four of Gordon’s assists coming in that opening frame, the Celtics trailed by two after one.
— Blood Runs Green ☘ (@BloodRunsGreen_) January 23, 2020
The Cs turned the tables in the second quarter and closed the frame firing on all cylinders on both ends of the court to take a big halftime lead.
When No. 20 returned to the court the score was knotted 35-35. Memphis went on to score the next seven points to take their largest lead of the night, 42-35. But the Celtics raced back with six quick points and when Gordon grabbed a defensive rebound with 5:14 left in the half, he started Boston out in transition. On the other end, Daniel Theis splashed a three to give the Celtics the lead. It was one they would never relinquish.
Over the final nearly seven minutes of the quarter, the Cs dominated with a 23-0 run. They outscored Memphis 23-2 in the final 6:24, with the Grizzlies only two points in that run coming when Jonas Valanciunas scored with 1.3 seconds left in the half to stop the bleeding.
Boston’s second quarter run didn’t feature any scoring from G-Time, but he got untracked offensively in the third as the Celtics stretched their lead to put the game away. He splashed a three a few minutes into the third to push Boston’s advantage to 17, and over the next five minutes added seven more points in a variety of ways, with a fadeaway jumper, a bruising drive to the bucket for a dunk, and finished with another trey.
GORDON HAYWARD SPLASH DOWN
— Zak (@NoseFaceKiller) January 23, 2020
OHHHH GORDON HAYWARD!!!
— Celtics Argentina (@CelticsARG) January 23, 2020
To the RACK 💥 pic.twitter.com/nEvByIekAX
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) January 23, 2020
GORDON HAYWARD POSTER!!
— Celtics Pride ☘ (29-14) (@CPrideBR) January 23, 2020
Gordon Hayward poster!
— Early Semester Hayward (@Matt_Hayward7) January 23, 2020
Gordon Hayward with the sneaky dunk!!! Then Kanter hustle and semi 3!!!!! Team basketball #Celtics
— Christian (@Cmoon05) January 23, 2020
— CausewayStreet (@CausewayStreet) January 23, 2020
“He’s – unleashed – his arsenal!” Tommy Heinsohn accolade for Gordon Hayward @celtics
— Angie Ducharme 🧢 (@333Angie333) January 23, 2020
By the time G’s final three of the night hit bottom, Boston’s lead was 33, 87-54. They led by 36 after three, earning Gordon and the rest of the starters a spot on the sidelines for the rest of the night as the reserves finished off the dominating win.
As the Celtics head out on the road for a three-game trip that will take them through the houses of east playoff contenders Orlando and Miami, with a stop in New Orleans in between, they’ll carry with them the momentum of two huge wins. But in order to keep the good vibes rolling, they’ll need to channel consistency that has been lacking since the calendar turned.
“It’s going to take everybody being on the same page,” Hayward said of maintaining such effort. “Everybody out there can guard multiple positions, that’s what makes us so hard, but if one guy is off, not doing his job, or if one guy is slacking, or one guy is not going as hard, it affects the whole group. For us, it’s all about staying focused and on the same page.”
— Celtics Nation (@CelticsNationCP) January 23, 2020
The road trip begins in Orlando on Friday night against a Magic team currently positioned 7th in the East. Tip-off from Amway Center is slated for 7pm and the game can be seen on NBC Sports Boston.