Celtics

Grizzlies-Celtics Instant Overreactions: Are C's officially back on track?

Grizzlies-Celtics Instant Overreactions: Are C's officially back on track?

The Boston Celtics earned their second straight blowout victory on Wednesday night, defeating the Memphis Grizzlies, 119-95.

Jayson Tatum led the way with 23 points. It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows for Tatum and the C's though, as the 21-year-old left the game in the third quarter with a right groin strain.

Here are three instant overreactions from Boston's win, which brings it to 29-14 on the year:

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1. The Celtics are officially back on track after their recent rough patch.

Verdict: Slight overreaction

The last two games -- a 32-point win over the Lakers and a 24-point win over the Grizzlies -- have been extremely encouraging for a Celtics team that lost six of its previous eight.

That being said, there's still plenty to prove. Circle the Miami Heat game (Jan. 28) and the Philadelphia 76ers game (Feb.1) on your calendars, because those will be the true tests for Boston as it looks to show it belongs at the top of the Eastern Conference standings.

2. C's can't afford to lose Jayson Tatum right now.

Verdict: Not an overreaction

Few teams in the league have had more misfortune with injuries than the Celtics this season. They've played in only 16 of 43 games with Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker and Gordon Hayward all active.

Brown was held out of Wednesday's game with an ankle injury, and now it looks like Tatum could miss some time. The 21-year-old suffered a right groin strain in the third quarter and did not return.

With the C's finally appearing to get their groove back, now certainly is a tough time to potentially lose another one of their best players. 

3. This game should quiet the Ja Morant hype.

Verdict: Overreaction

Morant (two points, 1-for-5 shooting) pretty much was invisible in this game. The rookie, along with most of his Grizzlies teammates, couldn't get anything going vs. the Celtics' stifling defense.

But let's make one thing clear: the Ja Morant hype is very real. The NBA Rookie of the Year frontrunner entered Wednesday's game leading all first-year players in points (17.9) and assists per game (seven).

Morant has been electrifying thus far in his rookie campaign, and you can count on that continuing. This kid is going to be special for years to come. We're talking future MVP candidate special.

Forsberg: Value of Memphis pick got grizzly in a hurry

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Magic, which begins Friday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, followed by tip-off at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Enes Kanter Show: It could get ugly for opponents when Kemba Walker's healthy

Enes Kanter Show: It could get ugly for opponents when Kemba Walker's healthy

Kemba Walker continues to be eased back into action due to a nagging left knee injury, but his performance through the Boston Celtics' first two games of the NBA restart is encouraging.

Even with limited playing time, Walker has stood out as one of the best players on the court. The C's guard tallied 16 points in 19 minutes vs. the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, and 14 in 22 minutes vs. the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday.

All signs point to Walker being on the verge of 100 percent, and the thought of that has Celtics teammate Enes Kanter excited about what's to come.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Heat, which begins Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 6:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Kanter raved about Walker in a brand new episode of The Enes Kanter Show and made it clear that opponents will have their hands full with the All-Star when he's fully healthy.

Enes Kanter Show: It could get ugly for opponents when Kemba’s healthy | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"Once he's 100 percent in game shape, like, oh my God. It's going to be ugly for other teams," Kanter said. "Because like, that's Kemba Walker. He was in my draft class. I played against him for nine years and I hated going against him.

"I knew there'd come a day where he's gonna be fine. Even if he doesn't play for months and months, it's just in his blood. He just can go out there and just hoop. He's just a hooper, that's it."

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has been extremely cautious with Walker, sticking to a strict minutes restriction through the first couple of games in the Orlando bubble.

Walker understands Stevens' approach and isn't one to complain, but it hasn't been easy for him to watch his Celtics teammates compete without him.

"Oh man, he's dying [for more minutes]," Kanter said with a laugh. "Especially like the last few minutes of the game. I mean, he's a game-changer. He's a leader and a game-changer, you know? He wants to be out there and just take ownership. But now Brad is like, 'OK, this is just the beginning, take it easy. We've got a long way to go.'

"But I think that just shows his heart, man. This dude just signed one of the biggest shoe deals out there. He can just say, 'You know what, I'm just gonna rest.' But no, he just wants to go out there and be with his teammates and win. He even wants to go out there and play 25-30 minutes in exhibition games. That shows character, man. And leadership."

Also discussed on the show: Kanter described the emotion of players kneeling during the national anthem, Jaylen Brown’s leadership on and off the court, Grant Williams’ basketball IQ and the inside scoop behind Jayson Tatum’s haircut.

You can listen and subscribe to The Enes Kanter Show here, or watch on YouTube.

Celtics vs. Heat live stream: Watch 2020 NBA seeding game online

Celtics vs. Heat live stream: Watch 2020 NBA seeding game online

The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat are set to square off Tuesday night in a game that will greatly impact the race for the No. 3 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.

The C's enter this matchup as the No. 3 seed with a 2.5-game lead over the Miami Heat, who are playing the second game of a back-to-back following their loss Monday to the Toronto Raptors. A win for the Celtics would give them a 3.5-game lead over the Heat with only five seeding games remaining for each team in the NBA's Orlando bubble. The chances of Miami erasing that kind of deficit in five games would be extremely slim.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Celtics news and analysis

Boston also comes into this game with plenty of momentum. The C's held off a Portland Trail Blazers comeback attempt Sunday afternoon to secure a 128-124 victory. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum scored a game-high 34 points and Jaylen Brown chipped in 30 points of his own. Brown scored 16 of his points in the fourth quarter, including a couple clutch 3-point shots in the final few minutes.

The C's won the two previous meetings with the Heat this season, including a 109-101 victory in Miami back in January.

NBC Sports Boston has you covered with complete coverage of Celtics vs. Heat, starting at 5:30 p.m. ET with "Celtics Pregame Live". Tip off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Boston, with complete postgame analysis after the final buzzer on "Celtics Postgame Live".

HOW TO WATCH

Celtics Talk Podcast: How much does a healthy Kemba Walker raise the Celtics’ ceiling? | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

ANALYSIS AND REACTION

BEFORE THE GAME: At 5:30 p.m., Celtics Pregame Live presented by TD Bank gets you ready for the game with reports from Mike Gorman, Brian Scalabrine, Abby Chin, Kyle Draper, Kendrick Perkins, Chris Forsberg and A. Sherrod Blakely. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AT HALFTIME: Tune in to watch a breakdown of the first two quarters on Celtics Halftime Live. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AFTER THE GAME: As soon as the game ends, tune to Celtics Postgame Live presented by New England Ford for analysis, commentary and player reaction. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream

Questions on our livestream? Get all your questions answered here on our Streaming FAQ.

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