The Celtics (10-7) fell to the San Antonio Spurs (10-8) by a final score of 110-106 Wednesday night at the AT&T Center in their only matchup of the season. The Celtic’s 2-game 2-game win streak ended as their struggles against the Spurs continue. This marks the 16th loss in their last 18 matchups.
This was the first time all year the Celtics had all five projected starters healthy and out on the court together. But it was not enough to overcome the Spurs. Jayson Tatum led all scorers with 25 points (11-25 FG, 3-4 FT) and 7 rebounds in 34 minutes of play. While Jaylen Brown chipped in 24 points (8-19 FG, 3-6 3PT, 5-6 FT), 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 36 minutes of action. Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart both posted 14 points apiece.
For the Spurs, DeMar DeRozan led the way posting 21 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds in 34 minutes of play. LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 points, while Keldon Johnson pitched in 18 points and 10 rebounds. The Spurs had an additional three players score in double figures. Lonnie Walker IV (14), Patty Mills (12), and Dejounte Murray (11). While the Spurs may lack superstar power, they make up for it with their depth. They currently have seven players averaging double-digit points. With Derrick White coming back soon they’ll be adding another legit weapon as well.
The Celtics started out the game strong coming out to an early 18-10 lead at the 6-minute mark in the first quarter. The Celtics ended the quarter leading 30-25. Things started to fall apart in the second quarter as the Spurs outscored the Celtics 36-17 in the quarter. Tied at 43 points apiece with just under four minutes left to play in the half, the Spurs proceeded to go on a crazy run that would see them go into the half with a 61-47 lead. The Celtics ended the half in the worst way imaginable. Jayson Tatum turned the ball over twice in the final five seconds of the half. Leading to back-to-back baskets for the Spurs. San Antonio ended the half on a 29-6 run.
The Celtics were able to regain their composure to start the second half. They outscored the Spurs 37-21 in the third quarter, including a 13-1 run to end the quarter.
The fourth quarter turned into a true nail-biter as both teams competed hard down the stretch. With less than a minute left in the game, DeRozan knocked down two free throws, giving the Spurs a 103-101 lead. Boston answered with a Daniel Theis dunk off a Brown assist to tie the game at 103. DeRozan countered with a 16-foot mid-range shot to give the lead back to the Spurs. The Celtics tried to answer, but Murray stole the ball from Walker leading to a fast-break dunk that should have sealed up the game at 107-103 with 16 seconds left.
But the Celtics didn’t give up. Tatum proceeded to attack the basketball on the next play where he scored a layup while being fouled by Jakob Poeltl. Tatum converted on the free throw bringing the Celtics to within two points (108-106). The Celtics failed to steal the Spurs inbounds play and were forced to send Rudy Gay to the line. Gay proceeded to make both free throws (11o-106). Boston had one final chance with 8 seconds left. They got a good look to try and send the game to overtime, but Smart missed the game-tying three.
The Celtics played well, but failed to close out the end of each half and it cost them in the end. Boston will look to bounce back as they face off against the Lakers this upcoming Saturday at the TD Garden.