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Celtics’ firepower too much for Grizzlies, Raptors edge Pistons

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The Boston Celtics’ long-range barrage was too much for Memphis on Sunday in the Eastern Conference leaders’ 119-109 NBA victory over the Grizzlies.

Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics dribbles the ball against Dillon Brooks #24 of the Memphis Grizzlies during the second quarter at TD Garden on February 12, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. Brian Fluharty/Getty Images/AFP

The Celtics drilled 21 three-pointers and out-rebounded the Grizzlies 54-34 on the way to a fourth straight victory.

Star forward Jayson Tatum had a quiet night with 16 points on 3-of-16 shooting.

But eight Celtics players scored in double figures as Boston again came through despite the absence of Jaylen Brown, who is sidelined with a facial fracture after an in-game collision with Tatum.

Brown said before the game he was feeling better and “taking it day by day.

“I’m just letting the swelling go down, letting the pain subside, and then I’ll kind of go from there.”

In the meantime, Marcus Smart also missed a 10th straight game, and Malcolm Brogdon was sidelined with a sore Achilles tendon.

Derrick White filled the void, leading the Celtics with 23 points.

“Credit to our locker room,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said of the role players stepping up amid the injuries to keep Boston 1 1/2 games ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks atop the East.

“Their ability to just be a professional regardless of their circumstances is just exceptional.”

Mazzulla was far from concerned about Tatum’s scoring output, which came on the heels of a 41-point outburst against Charlotte on Friday.

“Tatum is not going to get enough credit for the way he has played,” Mazzulla said. “Last game he had 41. He did a great job scoring. Two of the last three games he has done an amazing job managing the game, managing the game by continuing to play defense, managing the game by involving himself, not looking to score making the right play.

“Superstars don’t get the credit they deserve when they do that. I think that allows our guys to play with confidence and makes our team even harder to guard.”

The Grizzlies, led by 25 points from Ja Morant, cut a 13-point halftime deficit to one heading into the fourth quarter.

But Boston’s firepower proved too much as they outscored the Grizzlies 37-28 in the final frame.

Veteran Al Horford hit a trio of three-pointers in crunch time to help the Celtics seal the win.

In Toronto, Fred VanVleet scored 35 points to lead the host Raptors to a 119-118 victory over the Detroit Pistons.

Pascal Siakam added 22 of his 28 points in the second half for the Raptors, who built an early lead that withstood a late charge from the Pistons.

Toronto led by as many as 14 points before Detroit’s 13-5 scoring run over the final 1:21 made for the close final margin.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 33 points and Alec Burks added 21 off the bench, but the Pistons couldn’t build on their double-overtime victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday.


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