Celtics react to Grizzlies unexpected streak
|01.26.10 at 12:51 pm ET|
If you were told at the start of the season that among the Celtics and Grizzlies, one team would win 11 straight at home while the other would lose three consecutive games on their own turf, chances are you would pick the Celtics to be streaking.
That’d be the wrong answer.
The Grizzlies have not lost at home since falling to the Celtics on December 14, 2009. After winning just 16 games in Memphis last season, they have put together a string of victories that includes wins over the playoff contending Nuggets, Jazz, Suns, and Spurs.
On Monday, they extended the streak to 11 with a win over the Magic, the Celtics’ next opponent, tying the previous mark set by the Cavaliers and Lakers this season.
‘It’s pretty tough,’ Rasheed Wallace said when told of the Grizzlies achievement. ‘You have good teams coming in night in and night out, some top-notched teams and some teams that are lower than you that are not playing on your level. That’s what makes it harder because you want to try to get your ball club to stay on that high level and not stoop down.’
Even though the Celtics have won their last two games at home, they can appreciate the Grizzlies accomplishments. This season they learned how vulnerable they can be on their own court. After posting 35-6 records at the TD Garden the previous two seasons, the Celtics uncharacteristically dropped three in a row this month. The C’s understand what goes into a streak like the Grizzlies.
‘It’s very hard, but I think they’re focused,’ said Kendrick Perkins. ‘They’re playing with a lot of confidence, they’ve got a pretty good coach over there, good young talent, and they’re just sticking together, grinding out games.’
Perkins knows firsthand the obstacles faced by a young team, making the Grizzlies streak that much more notable. He was a member of the 2007 Celtics squad that lost 18 straight during a rocky youth movement.
‘They’re young but their basketball IQ’s a little bit better than how we were,’ he said. ‘They’re playing team ball and tough defense. They’ve got a lot of smart guys.’
The Grizzlies will look to extend their home streak to 12 on Saturday against the Hornets, while the Celtics will try to make it three in a row in Boston on Sunday against the Lakers. The Grizzlies will test the C’s at the TD Garden on March 10.