Paul Pierce scored 17 for Boston, but he had just one basket in the third quarter and none in the fourth while missing seven of his last eight shots.
Rajon Rondo had 11 points and 10 assists for the Celtics, who trailed by 18 after the opening basket of the fourth quarter but closed the gap to 83-78 with under 5 minutes to play on back-to-back 3-pointers from Jason Terry.
Boston began fouling and the Grizzlies made their shots, hitting 8 of 11 from the line down the stretch.
Memphis led by nine at the half and took a 75-59 lead after three quarters, then Marreese Speights hit a pair of baskets at the beginning of the fourth to give the Grizzlies a 79-61 lead. But Kevin Garnett scored eight points during a 17-4 run, and Boston made it 83-78 on Terry’s 3-pointers 46 seconds apart.
It was 85-78 with under 3 minutes to play when Garnett missed a pair of free throws and then committed a foul at the other end. The Celtics big man finished with 12 points and seven rebounds.
Avery Bradley returned from injuries to both shoulders for his first appearance of the season for the Celtics. He started and scored four points in 19:31. Rondo didn’t practice on Tuesday but played in his second straight after missing a game with bruised right hip and thigh.
The Celtics lost three straight at the end of their four-game West Coast road trip — by an average of 23 points. … Garnett played in his 1,286th game, tying him with Sam Perkins for 14th on the NBA career list. … Boston rookie Jared Sullinger picked up three fouls in three minutes in the first half…. The Grizzlies had lost three of four after winning four in a row. … Memphis has forced at least 10 turnovers in 132 straight games, the longest active streak in the NBA. … Memphis reserve Jerryd Bayless sprained his left ankle in the first half and did not return. … Celtics rookie Fab Melo was in Boston to see a doctor after receiving a concussion when he ran into a hotel door. He expects to be back in Maine on Friday.