Winners of six of their last eight games — including consecutive blowouts over Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers — the Boston Celtics have found a bit of a rhythm in recent weeks. At home against the San Antonio Spurs, the surge continued. The Celtics earned another comfortable victory, leading by as many as 30 points before the benches emptied and earning a 137-93 win.
With Jayson Tatum a late scratch, it was all Jaylen Brown, all the time. The Celtics’ co-star stepped up to the responsibility, scoring 41 points on 18-of-29 shooting and grabbing 13 rebounds. Supporting him were strong evenings from Derrick White and Malcolm Brogdon, who combined for 39 points, alongside a strong defensive effort team-wide that included 10 blocked shots. Zach Collins led the Spurs with 21 points, but San Antonio had few answers for a Boston lineup that seemed to get better as the game went along.
The Celtics fed Brown the ball early and often as play began. He scored 15 points in the first quarter, aggressively attacking the basket as the team’s top scoring option. While he was effective, the team struggled to contain the San Antonio in response. The Spurs connected on five first quarter three and shot better than 50% from the field in the opening quarter, taking a 32-30 lead entering the second.
If there was a wart in Brown’s — and the team’s — scoring attack, it was their shooting from range. While Brown was incredibly effective going downhill, he connected on just two of his eight three-point attempts in the first half, and the Celtics added just two more makes to his total en route to a team percentage of 27%. This was another tough shooting night for the Celtics’ offense.
Despite the shooting struggles, the Brown-led Boston attack was able to create some distance from the Spurs as the second quarter wore on. Midway through the run, they went on a 15-4 run to push themselves into the driver’s seat for the evening. Brown pushed his team-leading scoring total to 26, leading the Celtics to a 38-point second quarter and a 10-point halftime advantage, 68-58.
The pace of the game slowed dramatically as play resumed. Where both teams were scoring virtually at will in the first half, the defenses took center stage in the second. The Celtics staged a block party, with three starters (Smart, White and Horford) recording multiple blocked shots on the night. The slowed paced favored Boston; they clawed their way to a 11-2 run to extend their lead into the teens. They scored fewer than 30 points in a quarter for the first time in the game, but still outscored the Spurs 28-19, giving them a 19-point lead entering the final frame, 96-77.
Late in the third quarter, Marcus Smart picked up his second technical foul of the evening, resulting in an automatic ejection. Fortunately, the Celtics didn’t need his services down the stretch tonight. They opened up the fourth quarter with a quick 11-0 run, and rendered the remainder of the night’s proceedings just about trivial.
Next up, the Celtics will travel to the nation’s capital for a Tuesday night showdown against the Washington Wizards at 7 PM EST on NBC Sports Boston.