Finally showing some cracks in the plan sans Rajon Rondo, the Boston Celtics have lost three in a row and five of their past seven. A win over the Memphis Grizzlies on the road Saturday night would go a long way towards getting the team back on track.
Since losing Rondo in late January, the Celtics are 16-9, but the past two weeks have been discouraging for a team looking to make one last postseason run behind the likes of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
Other than a pair of home wins over struggling teams from Toronto and Charlotte, Boston hasn't won a game in two weeks. A 26-point loss to the Bobcats last week was undoubtedly the lowest point for the team since Rondo went down.
Facing a Grizzlies team that's still battling to reach the postseason, the Celtics likely won't be handed any favors Saturday. Despite having a 46-22 record, which would easily be the second-best record in the East, the Grizzlies are a half-game behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the fourth seed in the West.
The top four seeds in each conference get homecourt advantage in the first round. For a team that's been dominant at home, winning its past nine at FedEx Forum, getting that extra home game in the first round could be huge for Memphis.
Armed with an elite defense and one of the slowest-paced styles in the league, the Grizzlies have been incredible at limiting points in recent weeks. The last team to score 100 points against Memphis was the Sacramento Kings on Feb. 12. The Grizzlies have played 17 games since then.
Garnett played quite well against the Grizzlies' post tandem of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph in the first matchup this season between the two teams, notes Grizzly Bear Blues, SB Nation's Grizzlies blog. KG will likely need to come up even bigger on Saturday.
For a Celtics offense that's battled inconsistency, putting up points against this defense could be a major confidence booster.
Saturday's game begins at 8 p.m. ET.