Celtics Wrap: Kawhi Leonard Lifts Spurs To 108-101 Win Vs. Struggling C’s


The Boston Celtics didn’t have to worry about closing out Wednesday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs because they never had the chance.

The C’s fell behind early, and while they mounted comebacks in the second and third quarters, the efforts were from enough in the Spurs’ 108-101 victory at AT&T Center.

Avery Bradley led the Isaiah Thomas-less Celtics with 25 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, while Jae Crowder (15 points), Al Horford (13), Terry Rozier (12) and Marcus Smart (11) all reached double-digits in scoring. San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard led all scorers with 26 points.

With the win, the Spurs improved to 20-5, while the Celtics dropped to 13-12.

Here’s how it all went down in San Antonio.

Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson, Al Horford

The C’s actually got off to a nice start, forcing the Spurs to call a timeout just over three minutes in after a Bradley 3-pointer put Boston up 11-7. But that’s about the only nice thing that happened for the Celtics in the opening 12 minutes, as San Antonio closed the quarter on an 8-2 run and led 32-23.

The second quarter, however, almost went much better for Boston. The Celtics came roaring back to tie the game at 40-40 after a 17-8 run to start the frame, and they even momentarily took a 43-42 lead on a Crowder three-point play. But just when it looked like the C’s were making a game of it, the Spurs went on a 14-4 run to close the half with a 56-47 lead.

Bradley led all scorers with 16 points in the first half, and he also led the C’s with six rebounds. The only other player in double-digits at recess for Boston was Rozier, who had exactly 10 points and was a plus-nine. Leonard (14 points) and Manu Ginobili (10) were the double-digit scorers for the Spurs, while David Lee led all players with eight rebounds.

But the most telling stat of the first half was this: San Antonio shot 59.5 percent from the court, and Boston only made 19 of 46 shots (41.3 percent).

The first half of the third quarter was more of the same for the Celtics, but they closed out the frame with an 18-7 run, setting up the potential for a thrilling final 12 minutes. Boston cut its deficit to one late in the frame after two straight 3-pointers from Horford and Crowder, and two Bradley free throws, but a Pau Gasol 3-pointer gave the Spurs a bit more breathing room.

Unlike their loss Sunday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder, this time the C’s were the team trying to come back, and their efforts ultimately fell short. The Spurs built a double-digit lead early in the fourth and never looked back.

This needs to be played on loop forever.

Boston will return to TD Garden for only one game Friday when it hosts the Charlotte Hornets. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports Images

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