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Thursday, 10 March 2016 05:57

Boston Celtics stomp out broken Memphis Grizzlies 116-96 in second half - Garden Report

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After a mediocre first half that had Brad Stevens put his team to task at halftime, the Celtics came roaring back to squash a broken down Grizzlies squad. WEEI's Josue Pavon joins CLNS Radio's Jared Weiss to break it down on The Garden Report Post Game Show.

BOSTON - On the beginning of the NFL league year, the first interception of the year went to 6'9 Jared Sullinger. Early on in a third-quarter in which the Celtics dismantled the battered Memphis Grizzlies 30-12, Sullinger skied to catch an entry pass out of the air.

He smoothly bounced a lead pass to a streaking Isaiah Thomas at half court, who sprinted for the finish. The Celtics would carry a 23-10 run into the fourth quarter to hammer the Grizz into submission, finishing with a 116-96 victory.

Sullinger was a key contributor in each phase in the game, even after spending Monday night in the hospital with an undisclosed skin infection. The Doctor's orders were to stay away, but that's not how Jared Sullinger rolls.

"That was the whole point of going to the hospital, so I could play," he said. "One of the doctors told me, in a polite way, 'Maybe you should take a day off, try Friday.' I said, 'Uhh, you're not playing the bills at my house. I got to play Wednesday.'"

He might have had an effective second half, but he and the team played down to one of the most depleted active rosters in the NBA. For Sullinger, he felt even slower than usual.

"I felt slow out there, even though I am slow. I felt slower. My reaction time was really slow."

But the second half was where they locked in. Stevens delivered a short, terse and intense halftime speech - or rather halftime sentence - that struck a nerve.

"He just told us it was pathetic and we needed to pick it up and have some pride and dignity and defend homecourt," Evan Turner said.

"He didn't say too much," Thomas said. "He was upset. But, I mean, that's what happens when he expects a lot of us."

Stevens didn't think much of it, just as any coaching cyborg would say.

"Wasn't brain surgery. [I] Just walked in and said, ‘They're beating us to every loose ball and getting every rebound. This is the way they beat you tonight. So, we either have to change that or we won't win."

So it was time for the Celtics to get up. They were done with the JaMychal Green show. They were done with Matt Barnes looking like Shawn Marion in his prime. It was time to look a weaker opponent in the eye and pounce on their prey.

"You don't want to look at that and let down. They play with six guys, seven guys," Marcus Smart said. "We had the advantage, and started to wear them down in the second half."

Isaiah put on a show in the third quarter, outscoring Memphis all by himself. After Mario Chalmers went down with a devastating below the knee injury, Thomas attacked relentlessly.

"First half, we watched a little bit of film, the pace wasn't good and we weren't getting the 50/50 balls, we weren't playing like we know how," he said. "Third quarter, I kinda put it on myself to try to, when we got the ball, just push the pace, force the issue just a little bit, and get my guys going with that. That made a difference."

With their 14th straight win at home, the most for the franchise since 1990, defending homecourt is becoming routine for Stevens' squad. But when things become too routine, Stevens is happy to give them a kick in the rear end. It worked against a frail Grizzlies squad, but the rest of the NBA will be ready to punch back.

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Jared Weiss

Jared Weiss is the Celtics Locker Room Reporter and Host of The Garden Report: Celtics Post Game Show on Celtics Blog and CLNS Radio. J Weiss hosts The Block Party on Thursday nights at 8 PM and enjoys long walks on the beach while watching Rajon Rondo game footage. You can reach J Weiss at JWeiss@clnsradio.com and @CLNS_JaredWeiss.