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Celtics celebrate New Year’s Eve with a 134-101 blowout of Spurs

Boston’s shooting was on fire all night, and the defense was smothering, too.

Boston Celtics v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

There was a New Year’s Eve party in San Antonio tonight, but the Boston Celtics were the only ones celebrating.

The league leaders dismantled the host Spurs, 134-101, never trailing during the 48 minutes. Jayson Tatum led all scorers with 25 points, Jaylen Brown added 24, and five other Celtics were in double figures. They made 51 of 94 shots (54.3%) on 29 assists.

Boston’s sixth straight win improves their record to 26-6, still best in the league and now two games ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks in the East.

The only Celtic not available was Jrue Holiday, who was suffering from a right elbow sprain. Al Horford started in his place.

The Spurs came into this game with a 5-26 record, dead last in the West. This was the first time Victor Wembanyama had faced the Celtics, and he measured up with 21 points on 8 of 16 shooting (with three triples). Devin Vassell led the spurs with 22 points.

Boston took control quickly, making 11 of 21 shots in the first quarter. It could’ve been more but Kristaps Porzingis weirdly missed all six of his attempts, five of them from the arc. The Celtics led by as many as 11 and were up 30-22 at the end of the quarter.

The Celtics were holding the Spurs at arm’s length in the second, scoring easily — but so was San Antonio. Joe Mazzulla called time to discuss it, however the Spurs still had two straight transition dunks, first by Jeremy Sochan, then by Malaki Branham plus a foul. The five-point burst narrowed the gap to 48-44.

But then Boston did start guarding, blocking several shots and forcing a pair of 24-second violations. Meanwhile, Tatum, Kristaps Porzingis and Derrick White combined for all the Boston points in a 17-6 run that pushed the lead to 15. A last-second triple by Branham made the halftime score 65-53. Tatum had 15 points and White added 13, while Wembanyama led the Spurs with 15.

The Cs doubled the lead in the first three minutes of the third quarter, with a 14-2 run led by nine points from Brown. Wembanyama interrupted the flow with a pair of dunks, but the Celtics answered with three consecutive vicious dunks of their own by White, Brown and Porzingis.

Boston couldn’t miss and didn’t let up either, clamping the Spurs for yet another shot-clock violation. The lead grew to 30, and when Payton Pritchard swished a fadeaway to end the quarter, it was 29, at 105-76.

The Celtics won that third quarter, 40-23, while shooting 16 of 30. Brown had 16 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals in just 9:41 of playing time.

The fun continued in the fourth quarter with the bench continuing to make shots and play tight defense. Neemias Queta blocked a Spurs dunk attempt, and the Celtics forced the Spurs’ fourth 24-second violation of the night.

Boston’s next game is a tough test at Oklahoma City on Tuesday, January 2, with tipoff set for 8 p.m.

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