Forget about their record or their current standing in a loaded Western Conference. The San Antonio Spurs are the defending champs for a reason and still as dangerous as ever now that they are healthy and humming on all cylinders.
Brad Stevens summed it up best at halftime by saying the Celtics were still reacting to the first cut while the Spurs were laying the ball in to describe how his team's defense was a step behind a San Antonio offense known for it's brilliant ball movement. Boston wasn't able to keep up as the Spurs whipped the ball around to find the open man to open a double-digit lead by halftime.
"We were still reacting to the first cut when they layed it in." - Stevens explaining that the #Celtics were a step slow in the 1st half.— Sean Penney (@spenney83) March 21, 2015
Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard stole the show with a game-high 22 points, while collecting 3 steals to add to his league leading average.
Marcus Smart got into some early foul trouble before getting himself ejected early in the 4th quarter with a flagrant two foul for hitting Matt Bonner with a cheap shot down low that could very likely warrant him a suspension. Smart has done well so far to distance himself from the attitude issues that followed him into the draft, but moments like this will get his critics chirping again.
Despite the rookie point guard playing limited minutes, the Celtics still managed to do a decent job of containing Tony Parker for most of the game. The Celtics defense hounded Parker relentlessly in the early going, swiping at the ball on every drive and frustrating him into an uncharacteristic 6 turnovers.
Boston used a 14-0 run in the 4th quarter to put pressure on the Spurs, as Evan Turner came alive with 11 of his 17 points, but Parker took control by scoring or assisting on 8 of his team's final 10 points to secure the win.