Grizzlies vs. Celtics (7pm ET Wednesday, ESPN)
I’ll take “Teams That Most Recently Played Cleveland” for $400, Alex.
The Grizzlies on Monday night jumped out to an eight-point lead in the first quarter, fell behind 100-99 with 45 seconds to play in the fourth quarter, but then managed to ice the game away with four Vince Carter free throws in the final 13 seconds to seal a 106-103 victory. Carter had 15 points coming off the bench, but it was Tony Allen who led the charge, scoring 26, to along with four assists and five steals, including one off LeBron with 17 seconds to go while nursing a one-point lead. The Grizzlies are now 38-25 after starting the season 16-16, and find themselves in fifth place in the West. Memphis, already missing Marc Gasol for the remainder of the season, will be without the services of Mike Conley, who missed the Cleveland game due to a sore foot.
The Celtics played the Cavs on Saturday and did not fare as well, losing 120-103 to snap a five-game win streak. The Celtics fell despite a big night from Isaiah Thomas, who scored 27 points on nine-of-15 shooting. Jared Sullinger went 17-13 as LeBron showed flashes of his old self, scoring a game-high 28 points to go with 11 rebounds and eight assists while Imam Shumpert went 12-16 coming off the bench. Like the Griz, the C’s played .500 ball for quite a while, starting the season 19-19 before flipping the switch and are now in third place in the East at 38-26. Boston will be without Kelly Olynyk, who’s nursing a bum shoulder, and Jared Sullinger, who is sick.
Clippers vs. Thunder (9:30pm ET Wednesday, ESPN)
Following Monday’s win over the Mavericks, the Clippers are 6-3 since the All-Star break. The victory against Dallas was a team effort, as DeAndre Jordan had his second 20-20 night of the season while teammates Chris Paul and JJ Reddick scored 27 and 22 respectively. It was all too much for a Mavs team that made just 30 of 81 from the floor. The Clippers are 41-21 and in fourth place in the West, as they continue to wait for the return of Blake Griffin from injuries and then a suspension, and Luc Mbah a Moute, who’s missed three games since sitting early on February 29 against Brooklyn, after scratching his left eye.
Man alive, the Thunder really need this game… Just a month ago, the Thunder were thought by some to have surpassed the Cavs as the third-best team in the league. But they’ve gone 3-6 since the All Star break, losing a blowout against Cleveland, falling 4 points short of the Pelicans, falling prey to a Steph Curry 38-footer with .6 seconds on the clock, losing again to Golden State, and coughing up a 22-point lead against the Clippers. OKC did manage a 104-96 win Sunday against the Bucks, on the strength of a Russell Westbrook triple double (15-10-11), a 32-12-8 night from Kevin Durant, and Enes Kanter coming up huge in just 19 minutes off the bench, contributing 18 points and 12 boards. The Thunder are 43-20 and in third place in the West, but the Clippers are nipping at their heels, having made up 3 games in the standings since the break.