2/4/2012 5:52:00 PM
In one of two NBA picks
for Super Bowl Sunday, the Memphis Grizzlies (12-11) travel to TD Garden to meet the Boston Celtics (12-10). This is a matchup of young vs. old with both teams having equal talent.
Tip-off for this matchup
is scheduled for noon ET sharp!NBA odds
makers opened this one with the Celtics favored by 5 on the spread
and the total at 179
The Grizzlies will get a day of rest after blasting the Atlanta Hawks out of the Hawks home building, while unable to complete a back to back set of W's as the Oklahoma City Thunder
were just a little too strong for the Griz with 36 points coming from Kevin Durant.
The Boston Celtics
have started off the month of February with a bang. First, they layed a beating on the Bargnani-less Toronto Raptors 100-64 and on Friday the Celts completed a 2nd half comeback over the New York Knicks behind the offense of Paul Pierce and the late game heroics of Ray Allen to grab the 2 point victory, 91-89.Give this man credit!
Paul Pierce is one of the most underrated players in the past decade. He's the longest tenured Celtic and has been a consistent clutch threat to the opposition throughout his entire career.
When you think of great players, Paul Pierce isn't the first name that comes off the top of your head but when you witness all of the countless times that he's delivered offensively for the Celtics, it's mindblowing. Pierce needed KG and Ray Allen to get the elusive NBA Title that they finally won but without Pierce, this team is average.
This is a 22.1 point career game scorer who's numbers have tailed off slightly in the past few years but when the Celtics need a big game from someone, Paul Pierce is always there to deliver.
A good example of this is Friday's game against the Knicks in where the Knicks were leading for most of the way and Pierce got off to a slow start. When it mattered, he came up big in the 2nd half and delivered a team high 30 points.
Pierce is averaging 18.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game this season. A game against the Grizzlies will be a tough one for the Celtics due to the young legs of Memphis. Paul Pierce might not score another 30 points but look for the Celtics to be able to rely on this guaranteed future hall of famer.Boston's 2nd best quarterback
Point guard Rajon Rondo is back from injury and his presence is necessary in order for the Celtics to be successful. Rondo gives the Celtics that much needed youth and back's it up with hustle and intelligence in decision making.
This Sunday, he'll have to take a backseat to Boston, Massachusetts number 1 quarterback Tom Brady, who get's ready to take on the Giants later on in the day but look for Rondo to start off Super Bowl Sunday
with a major effort. He was out for 8 games due to injury, had a decent 7 point, 5 rebound, 7 assist game against the Knicks in his return, and is now ready to return to his form against stars like O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay, and Marc Gasol. Rajon Rondo is a basketball player that rises to the occasion in the big moments. Memphis will be a challenge and expect Rondo to be a key figure in this game.Rising stars
The Memphis Grizzlies are an up and coming team that's composed of young players that produce at each key position. I'm not even including an injured Zach Randolph into the equation at the moment although his production is needed.
Most teams seek high and low to find a center and the Grizzlies have a star in Marc Gasol that could be locked into this franchise for the next decade. Gasol's game is improving on a yearly basis. He made great strides in the playoffs last year as the Griz knocked off the top seeded Spurs. Gasol is averaging 15.1 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 2.3 blocks per game. Gasol should play well in this game. He's coming off of a 24 points 8 rebounds,3 assists, and 2 blocks performance on 9 of 12 shooting against the the tough Oklahoma City Thunder. This is a player that's locked in the zone.O.J. and Gay
No folks there's no underlying meaning here, just praise for spectacular play of forward Rudy Gay and shooting guard O.J. Mayo. There was high hope's for Rudy Gay coming out of UCONN and his play is starting to pay dividends as he leads the Grizzlies in scoring and is a very well rounded basketball player. Gay can shoot, rebound, and dive for loose balls. He's a flatout hustler.
Coming off the bench, guard O.J. Mayo is the "X Factor" for the Grizzlies. He's a streaky shooter that's come up with some timely buckets for Memphis. If you saw the Grizzlies play the Nuggets, you know what I mean. Mayo get's substantial time on the court and can score 20 in a game at any time. He's a great complimentary player to the starters.It's in the blood
I initially failed to mention about the play of starting point guard Mike Conley Jr because as a starting guard, he's expected to play well. Conley Jr., along with being the son of a former olympic athlete, is the perfect setup man (7 assists per game) that can also drive to the hoop and create his own shot. A Rondo vs. Conley Jr. matchup will be exciting as it will be full of energy and other players will feed off of that energy.Outcome of the game
A Boston Tea Party to the Super Bowl, if you will. Although Boston has picked it up as of late, they've played from behind and started this season off slowly. People have questioned if this is it for this group of Celtics. I don't question "this is it", I question whether they can keep up with an up and coming team with high energy such as the Grizzlies. This will be a close game and Memphis will cover.Super Bowl Day NBA Pick:
Memphis Grizzlies to cover the 5!