Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics score just 31 points in first half


Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics score just 31 points in first half

Memphis doesn’t play the most aesthetically appealing brand of basketball.

But man does it work, something the Celtics experienced up close and personal in the first half of Tuesday’s game in which the Grizzlies led 45-31 after the first two quarters of play.

The 31 points were the fewest points scored by the Celtics in any half of play this season.

Memphis, one of the league’s top defenses in the NBA, took control of the game with a 13-0 run which put them ahead 26-15.

Following a Celtics time-out, a driving lay-up by Kelly Olynyk snapped Boston’s shooting slump with 8:46 to pay in the second quarter.

Despite the basket, Memphis remained in control throughout the remainder of the half and continued to pull away courtesy of their defense and their control of the boards.

Boston shot just 29.3 percent from the field in the first half and were absolutely dominated on the glass, 32-19.

The Celtics fell behind by as many as 17 points before cutting Memphis’ lead to 14 by halftime.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half.



Marc Gasol

He really set the tone for the Grizzlies at the outset, keeping the Grizzlies in the game until his teammates began to heat up. At the half he had 15 points.

Troy Daniels

Boston had major problems with Daniels in the first half, seemingly getting whatever shot he wanted from the field. He led all scorers at the half with 14 points.

Isaiah Thomas

It was a rough first half for the Celtics, although Thomas did his part to keep the Celtics within striking distance. He had eight points, two rebounds and two assists.



Al Horford

The Celtics went to him early and often, but two personal fouls put him on the bench for a spell. He led the Celtics with six points, five rebounds and two assists.



Celtics 3-point shooting

Boston kept launching, one brick after another, from 3-point range with little success. At the half, Boston took 15 three-pointers with one one make.

WATCH: Boston Celtics at New Orleans Pelicans

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WATCH: Boston Celtics at New Orleans Pelicans

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Celtics-Pelicans preview: Can C's slow down Anthony Davis?

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Celtics-Pelicans preview: Can C's slow down Anthony Davis?

As the NBA trade deadline drew near, Celtics Nation was hoping tonight’s matchup between Boston and New Orleans would be Anthony Davis returning to where his pro career began.

He’s still with the Pelicans, doing what Davis has done for most of his career – dominate play.

But there’s a new twist now … he’s also winning. 

That’s why the 6-foot-10 Davis is no longer seen as a player that might be on the move anytime soon. 

He’s not just one of the league’s best players, but a bonafide MVP candidate whose stock as an elite player is even greater since New Orleans lost DeMarcus Cousins (ruptured Achilles tendon) for the season on Jan. 26. 

Since Cousins’ season-ending injury, New Orleans (39-30) has a 12-9 record with Davis averaging 31.1 points, 12.8 rebounds, 3.2 blocks and 2.3 steals per game in that span. 

Davis is also averaging 7.8 free throws per game which ranks fourth in the NBA, although you wouldn’t know he was among the league leaders in that category based on the postgame rant by his coach Alvin Gentry following New Orleans’ 107-101 loss to Houston on Saturday night. 

“A.D. (Anthony Davis) never gets a call,” a visibly angry Gentry told reporters following the loss. “He never gets a call. We talk about them holding him. We talk about them grabbing him on rolls. We talk about them coming under him on post-ups. He never gets a call; not one. And you know why? Because he doesn’t (bleep) complain about it. He just keeps playing the game.”

Regardless of how often he gets to the line, Davis is still putting up MVP-caliber numbers this season in Cousins’ absence. 

But it’s not like Davis’ stat line this season overall – 28.0 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.4 blocks and 1.5 steals – didn’t stand out for all the right reasons, either.

However, Davis’ shine isn’t quite as bright now with the Pelicans losing four of their last five games which has dropped New Orleans (39-30) down to the eighth and final playoff spot and just 1.5 games ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers (37-31).

So, the Celtics come into town facing not only one of the better teams in the West, but a club that is absolutely starving for a win.

While Boston (47-22) certainly wants to come into the Big Easy and get a victory, its impact on the Celtics’ playoff hopes is non-existent. 

Boston has the second-best record in the East and trail Toronto (52-17) by five games with 13 remaining. They face the Raptors two more times this season, but even if they win both of those games and thus the head-to-head series, it likely won’t come into play because of Toronto likely finishing with the best record in the East. 

And behind Boston in the standings is Cleveland (40-29), another injury-riddled team that’s seven games behind the Celtics in the standing and has shown no signs of threatening to gain ground on Boston. 

So regardless of how the Celtics fare, it’s likely they will remain sandwiched between Toronto and Cleveland in terms of playoff seedings are concerned. 

And that might factor into who plays – and who doesn’t – for Boston in these final few games of the regular season. 

Boston’s Daniel Theis suffered a season-ending torn meniscus injury in his left knee, and Marcus Smart’s right thumb injury will keep him out for the rest of the regular season with the earliest he might be back being the latter stages of the first round of the playoffs, or sometime during the second round if the Celtics advance that far. 

Boston must also make sure Kyrie Irving and his sore left knee, are good to go for the playoffs. In addition, the Celtics must work Jaylen Brown back into the fold after he suffered a concussion that has kept him out of Boston’s last three games. 

Celtics coach Brad Stevens has made a point of not allowing himself or his players to use their injury situation as an excuse for not playing good basketball. 

But he knows good basketball for his injury-riddled roster, involves players elevating their play.

“We’re going to be in the process of really looking at ourselves and redistributing responsibility on our team without guys going outside of what they do best,” Stevens said, adding, “We’re going to have to figure out how to play our best basketball.”