The sliding Spurs
Yes, Gregg Popovich is still leading the team on the sidelines, but that’s where the similarities between these Spurs and the Spurs of old start and end. San Antonio entered tonight’s game with a 4-13 record and just 2.5 games back of the worst record in the Western Conference. They’ve lost eight of their last ten and are staring down the barrel of a six-game skid.
There’s a legitimate argument to be made that the Celtics are playing the worst Spurs team since 1997, the year they drafted Tim Duncan. Josh Richardson and Robert Williams are both out for Boston, which hurts, but the Celtics are still undoubtedly the abler team on both ends. A win tonight against inferior competition could go a long way towards establishing momentum for the green, who are entering a December chock-full with tough outs.
Sluggish start for the Celtics offensively
Boston’s first-quarter offense was maybe the worst of the entire season to this point. They collectively mustered just 14 points on 5-for-26 shooting from the field (19.2%). The lone bright spot for the Celtics was Jabari Parker, with five points in three bench minutes. Besides Parker, Boston’s top-performing player offensively after one was Marcus Smart, who made only two of seven shots. Additionally, Brown and Tatum combined to go a ghastly 1-for-10.
The Celtics couldn’t possibly have inaugurated this one much worse. The reasons for the awful start begin with the pillars, Brown and Tatum, who can’t keep getting off to slow starts. Udoka needs to figure out how to provide them with easy scoring chances at the beginning of games to get the two’s confidence soaring early.
A second-quarter run got Boston (somewhat) back in it
After a first quarter that seemed as if Boston was running in mud, they picked up their level of play in quarter two. Brown was cooking with eight points throughout the period, while the young pups from the bench unit — Grant Williams and Aaron Nesmith — came up with much-needed buckets themselves. Most importantly, the Celtics got back to moving the ball, which is when this team’s offense is at their best. If Boston can carry over their second-quarter ball movement into the final two frames, they can steal this game in San Antonio.