Final: Spurs 105, Celtics 102

Sombum Im/USA Today Sports

SAN ANTONIO — Looking forward to being with you for this one.

GAME: No. 27 of 82
WHO: Celtics (22-4) vs. Spurs
WHEN:  9:30 EST
WHERE:  AT&T Center
RADIO: 98.5 the Sports Hub
TV: NBC Sports Boston

Projected Starting Lineups:

PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Al Horford
C: Aron Baynes


PG: Tony Parker
SG: Danny Green
SF: Rudy Gay
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge
C: Pau Gasol

Third Quarter Notes

  • Spurs come out trying to run Kyrie Irving repeatedly in the pick-and-roll to get open shots with Tony Parker and LaMarcus Aldridge
  • Jaylen Brown found some nice rhythm taking advantage of some mismatches in the post against Bryn Forbes, who started for an injured Danny Green.
  • A couple of ugly turnovers from Aron Baynes in the halfcourt (errant pass, travel). I don’t think Stevens is using him enough but he wasn’t giving him an excuse to do so with this effort.
  • Aldridge continues to get whatever he wants against Horford in the post with his size advantage. It’s very weird to see an opposing team target Horford on D, but it’s working.
  • Very nice close to the third quarter by the Celtics on both ends. Really contested the shooters well and Jaylen Brown had some terrific playmaking in transition and one of the best putback dunks you’ll see all year. He scored 10 of his 12 points in the frame.  

Second Quarter notes

  • Spurs throw 2-3 zone at bench unit to start the quarter
  • Theis going hard at rim. Blocked once by Gay, finished the second with an and-1.
  • Marcus Morris doesn’t really have any bounce off his knee tonight.
  • Terry Rozier making the Spurs pay for their 2-3 zone by getting out in transition and knocking down jumpers. He’s scored 11 points in his first six minutes of action.
  • Six solid minutes from the bench unit in hostile territory in the second quarter. Ran some good sets and held their own on defense as well, buying some extra rest for the starters by playing the Spurs to a draw over those six minutes.
  • Started developing into a more defensive battle as we settled into the second quarter. These are two of the best defenses in the league and they improved rotations and contested shots well. Transition opportunities led to most of the scoring for both sides.
  • Huge first half for LaMarcus Aldridge, who has nearly put up a double-double all by himself with 18 points and 8 rebounds. He’s also received a friendly whistle down low in postups against Al Horford.
  • Huge 5-0 run to close the second quarter for the Spurs in the final 13 seconds. Patty Mills picked up a couple free throws on a phantom foul by Jaylen Brown and then Manu Ginobili drilled a 3-pointer off a turnover by Marcus Smart to take the lead.
  • Spurs have been on the receiving end of a friendly whistle for most of the night, largely after a first quarter tech from Gregg Popovich. Will be one more obstacle for them to overcome in the second half. 11-6 edge for Spurs so far.

First quarter Notes

  • The Celtics’ defense came out completely locked in defensively. The Spurs missed their first seven shots of the game, mostly from the midrange, as the visitors forced them into contested jumpers. The Celtics took advantage of this to jump out to a 11-0 run in the first four minutes of the game.
  • Speaking of locked in kyrie Irving was a one-man wrecking crew for the first eight minutes of the quarter, toasting the Spurs from beyond the arc (4-of-5 from downtown) to score 17 points in the opening eight minutes of the game.
  • The Spurs finally got some rhythm went they went with a younger more mobile lineup (Patty Mills, Davis Bertans) midway through the frame, which stopped some of the bleeding.
  • Marcus Morris was the first sub and feasted on an array of midrange jumpers that weren’t falling after a one-game absence.
  • The Spurs have been doing some early damage with four second chance points. They’ve got four offensive rebounds on just 12 misses in the opening frame.
  • C’s finished with 61 percent shooting in the quarter but only a 31-26 lead after getting into the penalty. Only one free throw for the C’s in the frame.

Pregame Notes

  • Jaylen Brown will sport goggles for the next week to protect his inflamed right eye.
  • Marcus Morris is expected to play after missing Wednesday’s game with a sore left knee.
  • Gregg Popovich on the C’s strong start: “They’ve been in improvement mode for a couple of years now. Just better and better every year. Management’s done a great job. Brad’s done a great job. They’ve situated themselves wonderfully as far as youth and veteran players. And their execution is very good at both ends of the court. And that’s why they have the record they have. It’s actually too bad that Hayward’s gone. Because then you could really see what they can do.”
  • Jayson Tatum had his flight cancelled this morning (he was excused from the team flight for personal reasons) but he managed to arrive in time for tonight’s game. “I’m good,” he said. “I got up early. My flight was supposed to leave at, like, 8:30, but it got cancelled. So I caught a flight that left at, like, 10 o’clock.” Tatum said, “It’s all good,” when asked about his personal absence.