BOSTON — Isaiah Thomas scored 16 of his 22 points in the third quarter, when the Boston Celtics turned a three-point deficit into a 16-point lead before coasting to their 14th straight home victory, 116-96 over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night.
The Celtics have not lost in Boston in more than two months, a span that has seen them climb from ninth in the East into the conference’s No. 3 seed.
All they needed for their 14th straight victory at home was a reminder that they could play better.
"It wasn’t brain surgery," coach Brad Stevens said after the Celtics turned a three-point halftime deficit into a 16-point lead and coasted to a 116-96 victory over the short-staffed Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night.
"We just walked in and said, 'They're beating us to every loose ball and getting every rebound,"' Stevens said. "'This is the way they (can) beat you tonight. So, we either have to change that or we won't win."'
Isaiah Thomas scored 16 of his 22 points in the third quarter, and nine of them during a 14-1 run when the Celtics pulled away after Grizzlies guard Mario Chalmers left with what appeared to be a serious leg injury.
The Celtics have not lost in Boston in more than two months, a span that has seen them climb from ninth in the East into the conference's No. 3 seed.
"In the third quarter, I tried to put it on myself ... force the issue, get my guys going," Thomas said. "Luckily we had another half to play, and we changed that around."
Two nights after surprising East-leading Cleveland without four of their starters, the Grizzlies sustained a collapse that was exacerbated when Chalmers left with what the team called a right foot injury. Chalmers did not appear to sustain any contact before pulling up and then needing assistance to get off the court, unable to put any weight on his right leg.
Coach Dave Joerger said afterward he had no update on Chalmers, who left the locker room in a wheelchair with his right leg in a brace.
"When Mario went down, that was a tough deal for us," Joerger said. "Our guys played their tails off. But that team right there ... they got cooking and they were tough for us to catch."
JaMychal Green had a career-high 13 rebounds and matched his personal best with 17 points for the Grizzlies.
Chalmers hit a 3-pointer at the end of the second quarter to give Memphis a 55-52 lead going into halftime. But the Celtics scored the first five points of the third and led 64-61 when Chalmers had to be helped off the court.
It was 69-64 Boston when the Celtics went on a 14-1 run to open an 18-point lead before Vince Carter made a pair of free throws to make it 83-67.
Thomas also had five assists and a steal but it wasn't all good news for the Celtics point guard: He had one turnover -- his first in four games.
According to Basketball Reference, the only player since 1983-84 who has had at least 27 points in three straight games without a turnover was Michael Jordan in 1991.
Asked about the end of that streak, Stevens deadpanned: "Yeah. We're going to run tomorrow."
The Grizzlies were already missing forward Zach Randolph (sore right knee) and centre Marc Gasol (broken right foot). Chalmers was the backup for Mike Conley, who missed his second straight game with a sore left foot.
Forward Matt Barnes, who himself returned after missing the Cleveland game with a hamstring injury, said it got away from them when Chalmers went down midway through the quarter and Memphis trailing 64-61.
"Not really having a true point guard out there, I think we were a little unorganized," Barnes said.
Grizzlies: First-round draft pick Jarell Martin, who had scored eight points total in his NBA career, had 15 of his 16 points in the first half.
Celtics: F Jared Sullinger missed practice on Tuesday and Wednesday with a skin infection but started the game. Kelly Olynyk, who has been out the last 10 games with a separated shoulder, returned to full activity on Tuesday but was not dressed for the game.
Grizzlies: Host Pelicans on Friday.
Celtics: Host Houston on Friday