Tonight’s Celtics game started much better than Tuesday’s debacle. Behind solid 1st quarters from Avery Bradley, Jeff Green & Jared Sullinger, the C’s were up 25-22 after 1Q in San Antonio tonight. With the exception of some poor transition defense, Boston looked like it was going to give the Spurs all they could handle early. Most importantly, it appeared Jeff Green was going to possibly get his mojo back. But it was Sully who would really ball tonight.
For the most part, quarter number two was also a good one for Boston. Jordan Crawford tallied 6 points on a perfect 3 of 3. None more important than his two baskets in the final minute of the quarter. The Spurs were up 48-44 with 0:51 left in the half, and looking to make a quick run. But Crawford made a pull-up jumper then a layup, and the C’s went into halftime tied with San Antonio 48-48. If not for some turnovers, the Celtics would have led this game. They were playing pretty well on defense, and held Tim Duncan to just 3 of 11 shooting in the 1st half.
In the 3rd, the Spurs started to settle in a bit. They hadn’t played in 5 days before tonight, and they actually showed a bit of rust early. But Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard started to shut the door on any hopes of a Celtics win. Parker’s 8 and Leonard’s 12 were part of a 32 point quarter from the Spurs. Combine that with no one other than Avery Bradley being able to hit a shot, and the C’s headed into the 4th down by 10, 80-70. Bradley continued to play well, scoring 10 points in the 3rd, but the other 6 Celts that saw time in the quarter could only muster 12 between them. The Spurs were starting to stretch things out, and were looking to pull away for good in the 4th.
And pull away they did. Danny Green, who did not hit a field goal for the first three quarters, found his range, and after his 3rd trey of the game & 4th quarter, San Antonio had their biggest lead, 95-78 with 6:55 to go. And that was all she wrote. The Celtics would never make it a game again, and they simply could not stop the Spurs’ perimeter game in the final quarter. Danny Green simply was en fuego in the final quarter. Green scored all of his 11 points in the 4th on 4 of 4 from the floor, including 3 of 3 from downtown. C’s played well tonight, but Spurs win 104-93. Tony Parker had 19 pts and Kawhi Leonard 16 for the Spurs. I’m very satisfied with this effort, considering that the Spurs are a very talented (obviously) team that was well rested. C’s are now off until Friday when they face the Pacers back in Boston. Tip-off is at 7:30pm.
- Once again, Jared Sullinger had an outstanding night. He did a great job defensively on Duncan, and had a double-double of 19 points and a career-high 17 rebounds in his first start of the season.
- Jeff Green bounced back well, putting in 19 points to go with 5 rebounds & 3 assists. Avery also had 19 points.
- Jordan Crawford hit key shots to keep the C’s hopes up in the first half. he notched 12 pts, 4 rebs & 4 asts.
- The Celtics gave away points on turnovers like nobody’s business. San Antonio had 25 points off of 17 Boston turnovers.
Jeff Green slam
The Grid: (quick stats)
- Celtics attempted 12 free-throws, Spurs twice that many at 24
- Spurs had 20 fastbreak points to Boston’s 8
- Points in the paint: Spurs 48 Celtics 36
The last time a Celtics player had a reg-season game like Sullinger’s tonight (19 pts/17 rebs) was on 2/10/13, when KG had 20 pts/18 rebs.
— Marc D’Amico (@Marc_DAmico) November 21, 2013