Boston celtics on fire as 2 big star want to…

Kristaps Porzingis registered a team-high 26 points, eight rebounds, and six blocks as the Celtics survived 102-100 against the short-handed Grizzlies on Sunday.

Even the most diehard Memphis Grizzlies fans probably weren’t anticipating Sunday night’s matchup at FedExForum would come down to the wire.

Not with the hosts missing eight players and facing a team that, at 10-2 with victories in five-straight games, entered this tilt with the best record in the NBA and the league’s longest active win streak.

But Memphis’ physicality and the lack of flow, resulting from the officials frequently sounding the whistles, made it difficult for the visitors to find, let alone sustain, their rhythm.

They weren’t sharp defensively, either. Late rotations and players constantly leaving their feet on pump fakes reflected that perhaps the Celtics took their opponent lightly, or at the very least, didn’t bring the same focus and intensity they’ll likely have for Wednesday’s contest against the Milwaukee Bucks.

But with the score tied at 100 and 1:01 left, Jayson Tatum went to work in the mid-post before finding a cutting Kristaps Porzingis for a dunk that gave Boston a slight edge.

Still clinging to that two-point lead, the C’s seven-foot-three center then sealed the win, swatting Ziaire Williams’ attempt at a baseline fadeaway to beat the buzzer and force overtime.

“Emotional game,” Porzingis stated to NBC Sports Boston’s Abby Chin after the Celtics survived, 102-100, improving to 5-2 in games within five points in the final five minutes, the best clutch record in the Association this season.

“These guys played hard. They played hard, and they came to win. And we had to grind this one out. We didn’t have our best game. We took them seriously, but those guys can play, and we’re just happy to come out with a win.”

The former All-Star, who registered a team-high 26 points, eight rebounds, and six blocks on Sunday, also gave his perspective on why Boston’s been so successful in crunch time of its most tightly contested matchups.

“I think JT. JT is a very stoic guy. And (in) these situations, he’s very emotionless. And he leads us. He leads us in these kind of situations. He can get a big bucket, (and) he can make a big play, and he did that towards the end. And we have great players (and) great leaders on this team, and we’re capable of controlling our composure at the end and (being able to) win these tight games.”


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