The Memphis Grizzlies extended their impressive road winning streak, and they did it by beating an NBA title contender.
Rudy Gay scored 28 points on Wednesday night to lead Memphis to a 111-91 victory over the Boston Celtics and give the Grizzlies a franchise-record seventh straight road win. The previous six were against non-contenders, but this was Memphis’ first victory over the Celtics in seven tries.
“It wasn’t about them. It was more about us,” Gay said. “When you look at their lineup you have to respect them. They have three Hall of Famers.”
O.J. Mayo scored 17 points and Zach Randolph had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Memphis.
It matched Boston’s worst loss of the season, tying a 20-point loss to Cleveland last month that was the worst loss for the Celtics with Kevin Garnett in the lineup.
“They just came in and totally annihilated us,” said Garnett, who scored six points in 26 minutes. “We’re not looking down to May and April right now, right now we need to be taking care of March. That’s the mindset. We’ve got to do it soon, and do it immediately.”
Elsewhere in the NBA it was: Sacramento 113 Toronto 90; Charlotte 102 Philadelphia 87; Miami 108 Los Angeles Clippers 97; Denver 110 Minnesota 102; Utah 115 Detroit 104; Oklahoma City 98 New Orleans 83; San Antonio 97 New York 87; and Dallas 96 New Jersey 87.
At Boston, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo scored 17 points apiece, and Rondo added eight assists for the Celtics.
The Celtics lost 86-84 in Milwaukee on Tuesday night to snap a four-game winning streak, then flew back to Boston. They fell to 7-6 in the second half of back-to-back games.
“It’s a big win and we’re happy with the win, but we know we caught a break because the Celtics played last night,” Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said. “They had a tough game in Milwaukee last night and had to travel home. In my mind, they’re still one of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference.”
Celtics coach Doc Rivers stood on the court with his arms folded and his jaw clenched during one fourth-quarter timeout as the fans, who booed the team into the locker-room at halftime, filed for the exits. He opened his talk with reporters by joking that the only positive for him was when the announcer said, “Two minutes left in the game.”
Even his jokes were flat.
“The disappointing thing about tonight and other games is our lack of offence is dictating how we play defence,” Rivers said. “They get an offensive rebound and make a three, and you can see the heads hanging again. ... We just didn’t seem like we had the fight to fight through that.”
Memphis led by 15 after the first quarter, by 22 at the half and by 19 after three. The Grizzlies led by as many as 29 in the fourth quarter, when Garnett never got off the bench.
Celtics fans weren’t about to sit still, though.
They emptied the TD Garden during midway through the fourth quarter, with Boston trailing by 25. The 20-point defeat matched the worst with Garnett. They had a 31-point loss, also to Cleveland, in a game that Garnett missed last April with a knee injury.
Allen, who was 0 for 3 on Tuesday night, scored a team-high six points in the first quarter against Memphis — the only Celtic to make more than one basket in the period.
Memphis scored the last eight points of the quarter to take a 27-12 lead — a season low in points for Boston in the first quarter. The Grizzlies scored nine of the last 11 in the second quarter to make it 55-33; the 33 points also were a season low for a first half for Boston.
Kings 113 Raptors 90
At Sacramento,Calif., Tyreke Evans recorded his first career triple-double with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, leading the Kings to a victory over Toronto.
Bobcats 102 76ers 87
At Philadelphia, Gerald Wallace scored 28 points on 9-for-10 shooting from the field, Stephen Jackson added 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Charlotte won its fourth straight game.
Heat 108 Clippers 97
At Miami, Dwyane Wade had 27 points and eight assists, Jermaine O’Neal finished with 19 points and nine rebounds, and the Heat extended their longest home winning streak of the season to four games by beating Los Angeles.
Nuggets 110 Timberwolves 102
At Minneapolis, Chauncey Billups scored 25 points and got a huge lift from role players Chris Andersen, Nene and J.R. Smith in Denver’s victory over Minnesota.
Jazz 115 Pistons 104
At Auburn Hills, Mich., Deron Williams had 18 points and 12 assists, and Utah beat Detroit for the 10th straight time.
Thunder 98 Hornets 83
At Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant scored 29 points, Russell Westbrook added 17 points and came up just shy of a triple-double, and the Thunder beat injury-depleted New Orleans.
Spurs 97 Knicks 87
At San Antonio, Manu Ginobili scored 28 points in the Spurs victory over the New York Knicks, who clinched a franchise-record ninth consecutive losing season.
Mavericks 96 Nets 87
At Dallas, Jason Kidd had 20 points and nine assists, Caron Butler added 16 points, and the Mavericks recovered from a lethargic start to match the NBA’s longest winning streak this season with their 13th straight victory.