Final, Spurs win 104-92: Kelly Olynyk recorded his second career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Rajon Rondo led the team with 16 points, but it wasn’t enough for the Boston Celtics to avoid the loss.
The Spurs (38-15) ran away from the Celtics (19-35) in the first and fourth quarters, accounting for the wide final margin despite a tight game in between. The Celtics were as close as three points in the final frame before the Spurs turned up the heat.
Tim Duncan led the way for San Antonio, as he has for years. He delivered 25 points and nine rebounds, including 23 points in the second half, to pace the Spurs. Marco Belinelli had an all-around game, stalking a triple-double 16 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
The Celtics are done until next Wednesday, when they will take on the Suns in Phoenix after the All-Star break.
Fourth quarter, 1:43, Spurs 102-87: Well, that escalated quickly.
Duncan isn’t having a slow game anymore. He’s now up to 25 points and nine rebounds, having his way with whatever defender Stevens throws at him. It’s all over for the Celtics, although that’s been true for a while. Green has been especially rough tonight, shooting 4-for-17 from the field.
Fourth quarter, 5:26, Spurs 89-79: Rondo is doing all he can to give the Celtics a chance. But “all he can” might not be enough. Rondo drilled a pull-up three in transition to briefly pull the Celtics within six points, but the Spurs responded swiftly. Duncan banked in a turnaround hook shot over Joel Anthony and Danny Green threw down a dunk after Green missed a fadeaway at the end of the shot clock to give the Spurs some more breathing room.
By the way, you didn’t read that wrong. Anthony is in the game in the fourth quarter. He and Olynyk came off the bench, rather than Sully, although Sully just clocked in. So it appears nothing is medically wrong with him, but his absence was strange.
Fourth quarter, 8:56, Spurs 81-72: Some fans are trying to get the wave started at TD Garden. That tells you all you need to know about this game.
It really should be more entertaining than it is, but … no. The Spurs are obviously going at half-speed, just looking to get to the break unscathed, which is just enough for the Celtics to hang around. If the Celtics come back and take the lead, it will be impressive in that they capitalized, but it won’t be against the Spurs at full-bore.
End of third quarter, Spurs 71-66: Olynyk and the Celtics are in position to win this game. It just doesn’t feel like they will. Every time the Celtics come up with a big hustle play to get a bucket, the Spurs seem to answer with a straightforward post-up by Diaw or Duncan, or a jumper by Belinelli or Mills, to keep the Celtics at bay.
It would help Boston’s cause if Green would take care of the ball and become more accurate at getting it in the hoop when he did hold onto it. Green has nine points on 4-for-14 shooting and has four turnovers, two of which came on back-to-back unsightly possessions.
Third quarter, 5:54, Spurs 59-56: If only Boris Diaw could get in and stay in better shape, the guy could be an All-Star. No, really.
Diaw, who once displayed the ability to go off for a triple-double any given night, is having one of his better outings here. He has 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting, victimizing a Celtics front line that was more primed to slow down Tim Duncan.
Duncan’s been relatively quiet, for him, with eight points and six rebounds, but he’s done enough solid things, as usual, to help San Antonio get the lead.
Halftime, Spurs 48-44: While Kelly Olynyk takes care of the scoring end with 10 points, Jerryd Bayless has stepped up in Rajon Rondo’s usual role as a playmaker. Olynyk leads the Celtics with 10 points, while Bayless has handed out six assists, tied for the game’s high.
Boris Diaw, with 13 points, and Patty Mills, with 10, lead the Spurs’ balanced attack. The Celtics need every extra contribution they can get, since Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger are 4-for-18 combined from the field.
It’s been a relatively foul and free throw-free outing tonight, with just six free throws attempted between both teams. Listen, this game counts, but these guys know what’s up. This is all that stands before them and a few days off for the All-Star break. Bring on the vacation.
Second quarter, 4:23, Celtics 38-37: It’s probably bad news that the Celtics couldn’t possibly play looser and freer than they are right now. Things can only go downward from here.
Still, they might as well enjoy it while it’s happening. Olynyk is especially rolling, racking up 10 points and six rebounds already. He drove to the hoop for a dipsy-doo layup, which we didn’t know was in his arsenal. Much respect for the rookie.
Second quarter, 9:02, Celtics 26-25: I don’t know what this is, but it’s not Spurs basketball. There have been missed layups and airballs galore, including plenty by the Spurs themselves. This plays into the Celtics’ favor, since they’re used to playing this way. The Spurs are used to a style that’s a bit more reliable.
Phil Pressey has hopped on the Rondo train in hitting long-range bombs, despite not being known as a distance shooter. The rookie drained a three in the face of Patty Mills, who has been complaining to the refs about Pressey’s tight defense.
Danny Green then responded with an airballed jumper and Humphries missed a short jumper. It’s been weird for everybody.
End of first quarter, Spurs 25-19: Considering how rough this game started for the Celtics, things actually could be much worse for them than they are right now.
The Celtics have shot 6-for-12 from the field since their 1-for-10 start and trail by just six points. They managed to hold Belinelli scoreless over the final five minutes of the quarter and got a three from somebody other than Rondo. (It was Green.) Kris Humphries hit a fadeaway, one-footed jumper off the inbounds on Boston’s final possession of the frame to narrow the gap.
Kelly Olynyk had a strong first quarter, picking up right where he left off in Monday’s fourth quarter. The rookie hit a short jumper and drew some contact underneath, earning a trip to the foul line, where he hit two free throws.
First quarter, 4:23, Spurs 15-10: Rondo said he’d been working on his shooting while he was out with a torn ACL. Is this what he meant?
Rondo has drained two 3-pointers in this game to help the Celtics’ score look respectable. He’s shooting just 34 percent beyond the arc since his return, but that is an improvement on his career mark of 25 percent. (To be fair, it’s a crazy small sample size of 26 shots.)
The Celtics are going to need more big shots like that from Rondo, or somebody, if they are to keep pace with the Spurs. Belinelli has nine points on his own, just one less than the Celtics have as a team.
First quarter, 7:30, Spurs 9-2: If you blinked, you may have missed Brandon Bass’ jump shot early in the action. If so, you may have missed Boston’s only basket that will occur in the quarter. Jared Sullinger is 0-for-3 all by himself.
The Celtics are a cool 1-for-10 from the field while the Spurs have opened up at their usual peak efficiency. Marco Belinelli even got a lucky fadeaway 3-pointer to drop. If the Spurs are going to be both lucky and good, it’s really not fair to the Celtics.
6:56 p.m.: One man the Celtics will have in uniform tonight is Brandon Bass, who was poked in the eye and had to leave Monday’s game against the Bucks. It’s not known if Bass will wear goggles or some type of protective eyewear, as Stevens says Bass was goggle-free in today’s walkthrough but that “we did nothing.”
“I had to leave a game on senior day because I had a corneal edema in both eyes,” Stevens said. “I couldn’t see at halftime. Anybody that has anything like that, I have a lot of respect for, because that is not a fun feeling.”
Bass has not missed a game for the Celtics this season. He and Jeff Green are the only players who can say that.
6:29 p.m.: The All-Star break is typically referred to as being in the “middle” of the season, even though the Celtics have already played almost 65 percent of their regular-season games. But since the “3/5-season break” doesn’t sound right, we’ll play along.
The Celtics close the first half of their season tonight without Avery Bradley, who will rest his re-sprained right ankle for the second straight game. Bradley’s stay on the shelf might even last longer; Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Bradley could even miss time once games resume next week.
Rajon Rondo will be in the starting lineup, looking to get the Celtics their fifth win in six games. Boston didn’t need him for a win in Milwaukee on Monday, but it won’t complain about him being back.
The projected starters appear below.
Nando De Colo
8 a.m. ET: It’s time to play the rest and relaxation game. Avery Bradley and Tony Parker will stick to the sidelines for Wednesday’s matchup between the Boston Celtics and the San Antonio Spurs as both teams close out the first halves of their seasons.
Rajon Rondo is expected back in the lineup, with no minutes restrictions, for the Celtics’ last game heading into the All-Star break. Boston (19-34) will have to be sharp against the Spurs (37-15), who once again are one of the NBA’s best teams. With or without Parker, they are a daunting opponent for the Celtics.
Still, this is one of the rare cases in which the Celtics come in hotter than the Spurs. The Celtics have won four of their last five games, with Jared Sullinger posting six straight double-doubles and Jeff Green coming off a 29-point performance against the Milwaukee Bucks. Meanwhile, the Spurs have lost two of their last three games, including a loss to the Pistons in John Loyer’s first game as Detroit’s head coach.
Join us for updates and analysis from TD Garden during the game, which tips off at 7:30 p.m.