MEMPHIS -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers joked that it feels like his team has been out on the road for a month during this weeklong four-game road trip -- the longest trek of the young season -- and Boston is hoping to head into a much-needed three-day break on a high note.
First they must get past a young and feisty Grizzlies squad that posed troubles last season.
"Their speed; they're young, fast, and enthusiastic -- all the things we're not," said Rivers. "They force turnovers, they lead the league in that, and they crash the glass. Last year we were a horrendous rebounding team, this year we’re so much better, but that’s where they pose a problem. If they get out on the break, they’re tough to beat, and that’s where we gotta slow them down."
A couple other pregame bullets:
* Rivers said he doesn't have any update on Jermaine O'Neal (sore left knee) and hopes to find out more about his backup big man when the team returns home Monday. O'Neal did not accompany the team to Memphis, traveling home to Boston after seeking a second opinion on his ailing knee in Miami Friday. "I’ll find out more tomorrow, I haven’t even checked, to be honest. We gotta get through this game, then we’ll figure out what’s going on."
* Shaquille O'Neal (bruised right knee) is back in the starting lineup and Rivers doesn't expect to monitor his minutes based on Jermaine O'Neal's absence. "Whether Jermaine was here or not, we’d play Shaq probably the same."
* Doc on the 31-point, 31-rebound effort posted by Minnesota's Kevin Love during Friday's tilt against the Knicks: "No one on our team could do it because the guards steal too many rebounds. But 31 alone, in either category, is impressive. When you get two of them in one game, in any category, that's an amazing night. You don't see many nights like that."