Final: Grizzlies 111-91 It was 9:30 p.m., hardly too late for the school and work crowd, but the fans had seen enough.
With their team down 22 points and showing no signs of sitting on a dormant, furious comeback, Celtics fans rushed the TD Garden exits with 9:21 remaining in the game. It was a scene unlike any other in the Big Three Era.
The Celtics dug themselves a 15-point hole at the end of the first quarter and never recovered, falling to the improving but not yet elite Memphis Grizzlies, 111-91, Wednesday night at TD Garden. The 20-point loss tied a 20-point loss to Cleveland as Boston’s worse defeat of the season.
Boston’s 12 points in the first quarter were a season low, with the 33 points the Celtics put up at halftime shattering their previous low of 38 against the Wizards on March 7. The Celtics outscored the Grizzlies by three in the third, but it was nowhere near enough of a run to mount any kind of serious comeback.
Kevin Garnett was scoreless in the first half and finished with just 6 points, while Nate Robinson went scoreless for the game off the bench. The Celtics shot 44 percent for the game while Memphis had 46 points in the paint and shot 55 percent for the game.
Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley combined with his backup, Marcus Williams, to put up 28 points, 11 assists, and 7 rebounds. Rajon Rondo had 16 points and 8 assists for the Celtics, but his defense against the Memphis backcourt was a major factor in the game.
Rudy Gay paced the Grizzlies with 28 points.
After winning four straight, the Celtics have now lost two games in less than 24 hours. Boston has a day off before hosting the Indiana Pacers Friday night.
9:21 4th quarter: Grizzlies 89-67 That, uh, that might do it. Sam Young’s dunk sends Celtics fans streaming for the exits with more than nine minutes remaining in the game.
End 3d quarter: Grizzlies 82-63 When Marcus Williams is knocking down threes effortlessly, you know something is wrong with your perimiter defense. Williams has 10 points and 3 assists for Memphis, while starting point guard Mike Conley has 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists.
1:51 3d quarter: Grizzlies 75-57 Rajon Rondo just had one of those tiny little moments in a basketball game that mean a whole lot. Rondo got an offensive rebound, looked at Paul Pierce (who was standing WIDE open at the top of the key) and passed it into the corner to Ray Allen, who missed a contested three. Pierce clearly had the better look, but Allen must have still been in Rondo’s ear after the two talked about ball movement earlier tonight.
4:17 3d quarter: Grizzlies 68-52 Hasheem Thabeet just blocked a Rajon Rondo shot against the backboard after the shot had already hit glass, but no goaltending was called. It’s that kind of night for the Celtics, who aren’t getting any lucky bounces, and certainly aren’t creating any for themselves.
7:38 3d quarter: Grizzlies 62-45 The Celtics have sliced the lead by five, opening the second half with a 12-7 run. Is that enough? No, but it’s a start.
Halftime: Grizzlies 55-33 It’s bad no matter how you look at it. The Celtics are shooting 39 percent. Memphis has 28 points in the paint. Kevin Garnett is scoreless. The 33-point output is a season-low for the Celtics. By five points.
The fans have been booing almost since tip-off.
2:28 2d quarter: Grizzlies 50-31 Rudy Gay throws down a ferocious dunk on the fast break, a reminder that the Celtics just don’t have a guy with Gay’s athleticism.
5:28 2d quarter: Grizzlies 43-22 Not many updates because there’s nothing new to report. The Celtics are shooting 33 percent, while the Grizzlies are getting any shot they want.
8:51 2d quarter: Grizzlies 37-18 It shouldn’t be ignored that while the Celtics are dreadful on offense, they’re also allowing Memphis to shoot 59 percent from the field. The Grizzlies have 20 points in the paint.
End 1st quarter: Grizzlies 27-12 Michael Finley made an appearance in the first quarter, but so did the boo-birds. The home fans are frustrated by a Celtics offense that has mustered just 12 points (The Celtics’ previous low for the first quarter this season was 12 against the Magic on Nov. 20). The Celtics are 5 of 20 from the field.
2:57 1st quarter: Grizzlies 20-10 Sam Young (4 of 5, nine points) is killing the Celtics.
5:52 1st quarter: Grizzlies 11-4 We’re just over six minutes into the game and Ray Allen already has his three shot attempts. He’s 1 for 3.
7:20 1st quarter: Grizzlies 8-2 So much for that. Rondo just threw up a terrible shot and missed everything for a shot clock violation. The Celtics are 2 of 7.
10:36 1st quarter: Tied at 2 Talk about better ball movement. Kevin Garnett finds a cutting Rajon Rondo for a lay-up to put the Celtics on the board.
Pregame: We’re ready to go here at TD Garden. National anthem momentarily.