The Memphis Grizzlies needed an offensive spark after finding out earlier in the day they'd be without Marc Gasol indefinitely due to an abdominal tear. For one night at least, Jerryd Bayless was that spark, as his 20 point first half helped lead the Grizzlies past the Boston Celtics 110-106 Saturday night.
Both teams jumped out to hotter starts on offense than normal, scoring a combined 60 points in the first quarter. The Celtics, playing without Kevin Garnett and Courtney Lee due to sprained left ankles, jumped out to an early 10-2 lead due to scoring from each of their five starters. The Grizzlies managed to battle back and trailed by just two at the end of the first quarter. Bayless took over in the second quarter, scoring 12 of his first half 20 points to help the Grizzlies pull away and take a 61-51 lead in to halftime.
The Grizzlies defense seemed to return to normal in the second and third quarters as well, holding Boston to just 42 combined points. Meanwhile, the Memphis offense continued humming thanks to Bayless and the Grizzlies starting front court duo of Darrell Arthur and Ed Davis, who scored a combined 29 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. Zach Randolph started the game on the bench due to disciplinary issues, but still managed to record of double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Memphis' second and third quarters were almost foiled by a late Boston run that put the game in question. The Grizzlies were up 98-77 before the Celtics' bench, led by Jordan Crawford, went on a 29-12 run to close out the game, pulling as close as two points several times. The Grizzlies managed to hit enough free throws to keep the Celtics at bay till the final whistle. Bayless finished with 30 to lead all scorers. Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 26 points, six rebounds and four assists.
The loss was the Celtics third in a row and moved them back into seventh place in the Eastern Conference, just two games ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks. Memphis moved in to a tie with the Los Angeles Clippers for fourth place out west, pending the outcome of the Clippers' game against the Brooklyn Nets.