In Super Bowl preview, Celtics’ aerial attack beats Grizzlies ground-and-pound style, 119-109

In what has become a bit of a TD Garden tradition, the Celtics played on Super Bowl Sunday. Over the last few years, they’ve posted a 10-3 record in these matinee games of late and added to their dominance with a 119-109 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

In what could be a bit of a preview of Eagles vs. Chiefs, Grizzlies vs. Celtics was a contrast of styles. Philadelphia led the league in rushing touchdowns, not unlike Memphis’ hard-driving style in the NBA. The Grizzlies are first in the league in points in the paint at 59.3 a night; by comparison, the Celtics are 27th at 45.1. On Sunday afternoon, the edge predictably went their way, outscoring Boston 60-to-34.

Ja Morant scored 25 points (including 7-of-11 from the line) and dished out 7 assists, consistently pounding the paint with drives and rim attacks with Marcus Smart (ankle), Jaylen Brown (facial fracture), and Malcolm Brogdon (Achilles soreness) unavailable to slow him down.

On the flip side, Jayson Tatum’s Kansas City Chiefs lead the league in passing touchdowns and yards heading into tonight’s football finale. And during their three-game streak, the Celtics have shot a blistering 60-of-127 from behind the arc, recapturing their offensive fire from earlier in the season. Against Memphis, Boston put up 51 three-pointers (their 8th time this season with 50+ attempts from 3) and seemed hellbent to beat the second-ranked defense from the air hitting 21.

Sam Hauser continued his flame-throwing as a spot starter and hit six of his 11 3-pointers. White continued his strong play of late, leading the Celtics in scoring with 23 points and 10 assists. Jayson Tatum chipped in with 16 points.

The Celtics will wrap up the first half of the regular season with back-to-back games in Milwaukee to face the #2 seeded Bucks and back home to host the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

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