Celtics Top Performers
Jared Sullinger: 19 points, 17 rebounds
Jeff Green: 19 points, 50% FG, 5 rebounds
Avery Bradley: 19 points, 50% FG, 3 rebounds, 2 assists
Spurs Top Performers
Kawhi Leonard: 16 points, 8 rebounds, 5 steals
Tony Parker: 19 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists
Tiago Splitter: 11 points, 10 rebounds
Sully Goes Off
Jared Sullinger was absolutely sensational in his first start of the 2013-14 season. In just over 30 minutes of play the second year man out of Ohio State poured in a cool 19 points to go along with a career high 17 rebounds.
Sully was also pretty effective on the defensive side of the ball, limiting the great Tim Duncan to just 13 points on an uncharacteristic 23 percent shooting from the field.
Needless to say, Sullinger forced head coach Brad Stevens' hand tonight by putting together arguably the best game of his young career. With the Celtics struggling so mightily, Stevens would be hard pressed to turn his back on anything that's working out well and, right now, Jared Sullinger is one of the very few positives on this team.
Jeff Green Lets Loose
Following a very poor stretch where he failed to convert a single field goal in seven straight quarters, Jeff Green showed flashes of the player we all wish he could consistently be. Green was relentlessly attacking the basket for the majority of the game and he also proved to be a decent threat from beyond the arc.
Unfortunately, it's anyone's guess as to whether or not he can sustain this type of play for more than just a game or two. Green has the skill set, athletic ability, and potential to be one of the better players in this league but it absolutely ticks me off when he can't string together a couple of exceptional games. Maybe he'll start to play angry if the losses keep piling up but as of right now his performance is just a small bright spot in what was just another tough defeat.
Avery Bradley Becoming an Offensive Threat?
Avery Bradley rounded out the trio of Celtics to put up 19 points in tonight's contest. Like Green, Bradley also converted on 50 percent of his field goal attempts and he's been consistently effective with his mid-range jumper over the past couple of games.
To this point in the season, Bradley is shooting a torrid 53 percent from 15-19 feet, per the NBA.com stats database, and in that same distance his clips from both the corners and wings are above the current league average.
Bradley's been getting his buckets in myriad ways. He's coming off screens - both on and off-ball - in addition to spot-up looks and whatever he creates for himself off of the dribble. Avery is becoming more and more respectable on the offensive end of things with each passing game. Now that he's hitting over 50 percent of his attempts at the rim and from mid-range it might be time to add a reliable three point shot to his arsenal.
Poor Start to Second Half Costs Cs the Game
After the first 24 minutes of basketball, the Celtics went into the locker room tied with the Spurs at 48. But the team that went into the locker room wasn't the same team that came out of the locker room to start the second half.
The Spurs went on a 13-4 run during the first couple of minutes of the third quarter and although they were able to reduce that lead to just three points by the eight minute mark, the Celtics failed to keep up with San Antonio for the remainder of the quarter. Ultimately, the Spurs outscored the Cs by 10 points in the period and it was their one point advantage in the fourth that resulted in the 11 point difference in the final score. But take a look at these quarter-by-quarter splits:
Had it not been for their poor play in the third quarter, the Celtics might have left the AT&T Center with a "W."