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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Do I Hear Five Losses in a Row for the Celtics?

It didn't feature the pure carnage of Tuesday's ass kicking in Houston but tonight's 104-93 loss by the Celtics in San Antonio still got the job done. After having a few days between games, the Spurs (10-1 overall, 5-0) were noticeably rusty. Either that or they knew that Boston (4-9 overall, 2-6 away) is a joke so they didn't have to overexert themselves at good old AT&T Center.

San Antonio won their eighth game in a row while Boston dropped their fifth straight. The contrast between the two teams couldn't be much more drastic: the Spurs came within a few plays of another NBA title in June while the Celts have hit the reset button on their franchise. They might be boring and play in a one-trick city but the Spurs are basically the Patriots. Think about all their similarities: legendary coach that is hated by many, core group of key players particularly one icon (Tim Duncan), stressing the team over the individual and remarkably consistent.

Tony Parker led the Spurs with 19 points and five assists. Promising young Kawhi Leonard had 16 points, eight rebounds and five steals; Duncan added 13 points and nine rebounds; Tiago Splitter put up 11 points and 10 rebounds while Danny Green also scored 11 points. Fatso Boris Diaw notched 12 points off the bench for San Antonio.

Jared Sullinger put up 19 points and a career-high 17 rebounds. Avery Bradley and Jeff Green both reappeared with 19 points and Jordan Crawford tallied 12 points for Boston.

It was actually tied at halftime (48-48) but San Antonio outscored Boston 32-22 in the third quarter to take control for good. Spurs hit four more 3-pointers (8-4), seven more free throws (18-11), dished out nine more assists (27-18), made eight more steals (12-4), blocked three more shots (6-3), scored 12 more fast break points (20-8) and 12 more points in the paint (48-36). Finally, the home team scored 21 more points off turnovers (25-4) which begs the question: how did San Antonio not win by 30+ points?

These teams meet again, February 12 in Boston so you can pencil that in as another guaranteed loss. Speaking of certain defeats, the C's host the Pacers (10-1) on Friday (7:30, CSN) at TD Garden. Once again, Indiana looks like the team in the Eastern Conference with the best (only?) shot to knock off the Heat. For that reason alone, I think we can all agree that Indiana is a team to root for in the postseason.

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