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Celtics-Spurs halftime hot takes

San Antonio is ahead, 58-56. Jaylen Brown leads all scorers at the half with 18 points.

San Antonio Spurs v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

The Spurs are road warriors (for a rebuilding team, at least)

The San Antonio Spurs are no longer the perennial contender of yesteryear, but they still compete night in and night out, and their road record highlights this sentiment. While a record of 7-12 may not seem much to brag about, it stacks up against borderline playoff teams. The Celtics, for example, are an identical 7-12 away from the friendly confines of TD Garden. Additionally, the eight-seeded Charlotte Hornets are 10-14 on the road.

The moral of the story is Gregg Popovich remains one of the NBA’s elite coaches. As long as he continues to patrol the sidelines, the Spurs will be perpetually well-prepared and find ways to win on the road. Boston can’t let its foot off the gas during the second half, no matter the score or how the game is trending, because San Antonio will keep playing and fighting.

Tatum is back but showed some rust

The Celtics are slowly but surely getting healthier; only Payton Pritchard sat this one out due to health and safety protocols, and Jayson Tatum returned to the lineup for the first time since December 27th. While it’s great to see the star back in action, he has admittedly struggled to score the ball thus far. Tatum has nine points at the half on 3-for-11 shooting from the field. Some ugly misses were sprinkled in, too, including an airball on his patented step-back three-pointer.

But it hasn’t been all bad for the Duke product — Tatum dished out three assists. His passing chops were especially on display in the second quarter when he strung together consecutive possessions in which he moved the ball to find open shots. Tatum’s growth as a playmaker over the last two seasons has been a joy to witness. As soon as he stepped foot in the league, Tatum could score with the best of them, but he’s now a much more well-rounded offensive player.