8 a.m. ET: In keeping with the theme of this season, the Celtics took one step forward while taking one step backward on Tuesday. Avery Bradley confirmed that he is good to go for the game against the Grizzlies, making his first appearance since Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in Philadelphia. But his fellow starting guard, Rajon Rondo, is questionable as he continues to nurse the bruised thigh and hip that have troubled him the last two games.
As though losses to the powerhouse Clippers, upstart Warriors and awful Kings were not enough, the Celtics now take on one of the most flat-out solid squads in the game. The Grizzlies are a selfless group reminiscent of the 2004 Pistons, defending like demons and sharing the ball among a roster filled with very good players who fall just short of superstardom. Rudy Gay leads the team in scoring with 18.0 points per game, but Zach Randolph is Memphis’ true leader with averages of 17 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. Randolph has 22 double-doubles in 28 games this season.
The Grizzlies do not do all their damage inside, though. They have a respected floor general in Mike Conley and a furious defender in Tony Allen, who is familiar to Celtics fans. All told, this is a rough matchup for a scuffling Celtics team at less than full strength.
Join us for updates and analysis from the TD Garden during the game, which tips off at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Photo via Facebook/Avery Bradley