San Antonio Spurs (1-1) at Boston Celtics (1-1)
Sunday, November 1, 2015
3:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #3 Home Game #3
TV: CSN-NE, FSSW, NBA-LP 753(DTV)/752,754(Xfinity)
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, WOAI 1200 AM
Referees: Danny Crawford, Gediminas Petraitis, Josh Tiven
The Spurs make their only visit to the Garden with both teams looking for their 2nd win of the season. The Spurs lost their opener to the OKC Thunder on the road and then did the Celtics a favor by beating the Nets at home.
The Spurs won the season series last season 2-0 and lead the all time series 47-38. With their victory over the Nets, the trio of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili tied the Celtics trio of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish for wins by a trio of teammates with 540 wins together.
This is the Celtics 3rd straight home game to start the season. The Spurs have played one on the road, one at home and now are on the road once again for the first of a 3 game road trip that will also take them to New York for back to back games and then to Washington for the 3rd game in 4 nights. The Celtics will play their first road game on Wednesday in Indiana.
PG SG SF PF C
PG: Marcus Smart
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Jae Crowder
PF: David Lee
C: Tyler Zeller
PG SG SF PF C
PG: Tony Parker
SG: Danny Green
SF: Kawhi Leonard
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge
C: Tim Duncan
Jae Crowder vs Kawhi Leonard
Leonard had become a star for the Spurs. He leads the team in both points (24ppg) and rebounds (9rpg). Jae's defense will be tested as he tries to slow down the Spurs top player.
David Lee vs LaMarcus Aldridge
If Stevens sticks with the same starters, David Lee will have his hands more than full trying to slow Aldridge down. Aldridge is averaging 10.5 points, 8 rebounds and 2.5 assists. We may see an early entrance for Sully or Olynyk if Aldridge is feasting on Lee's defense.
Isaiah Thomas vs Manu Ginobili
In these two, we have a battle of the super subs. Neither is known for their lockdown defense but Isaiah gives up a few inches to Ginobili, who has lost a step or two since his prime but is still averaging 11.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists.
Keys to the Game
Rebound - The Celtics were out-rebounded 53-38 in their last game. They can't score if they don't have the ball, and they will struggle when constantly giving up second and third chance points. The Celtics are averaging 41 rebounds per game while the Spurs are averaging 46 rebounds per game.
Take Care of the Ball - The Celtics turned the ball over 17 times vs the Raptors and they have to take better care of the ball if they hope to have a chance against the Spurs. The Celtics are averaging 17 turnovers while the Spurs are averaging 15.5 turnovers per game. The Celtics have to be more careful with their passes and take better care of the ball.
Defense - The Celtics have said they are making defense their priority this season and that is a good thing since defense wins championships. They especially need to tighten up their their perimeter defense as they allowed the Raptors to shoot better than 42% from beyond the arc. The Spurs have some scorers on their team and so the Celtics must lock down on defense if they want to get a win.
Make some Baskets - The Celtics couldn't buy a basket at times during their loss to the Raptors. As a team, they shot just 37.6% from the field, 26.9% from beyond the arc and a paltry 78% from the line. They need to keep their focus and hit their shots. The Spurs are a good defensive team and so the Celtics must be smart in moving the ball and in running on offense to get good shots off before the defense gets set.
Pride - The Celtics did not play very well against the Raptors and their Celtic Pride should kick in and help them to give this game a better effort.
Home Game - The Celtics are once again at home where they should get a boost from the home crowd and from the familiarity of their home court.
Coaching - Gregg Popovich is considered by many to be the best coach in the league. Brad Stevens is considered to be the best young coach in the league and the heir apparent to Popovich's crown. Matchups and coaching strategy will come into play in this game.