Game Preview #16: Boston Celtics @ San Antonio Spurs


Kevin Garnett Out 3-4 Months With Pounded Chest

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He's flyyyyyinnnnnnggggg.

Thanks, CapHill, for sending this link to me. Thank you, secret Onion writer, for this related article:

Tim Duncan Hams It Up For Crowd By Arching Left Eyebrow Slightly

Need I say more? No, I needn't, not really. But this is PtR, and so I am contractually obligated to supply at least 2,500 more words on why, if there is an FSM, the Spurs have to provide evidence of Its existence by winning. this. m11g. game.

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All I want for Festivus is a Spurs win tonight

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Boston Celtics @ San Antonio Spurs
Where: AT&T Center - San Antonio, TX
When: December 3, 2009, 7:00 PM Spurs time
Watch: TNT, baby, taking our rightful place in the national spotlight!

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How They Stack Up
8-2 Home 7-3
1-4 Road 7-1
101.1
Offense 100.3
96.5 Defense 91.2
46.8 FG% 49.5
37.2 3-pt% 35.4
75.0 FT% 75.8
43.0 Rebounds 38.2
13.5 TOs 14.9
7-3 Last 10 7-3
Won 5
Streak Won 5
2nd, Southwest Position 1st, Atlantic

Country/Time Zone Game Time
FANGIOLAND 10:00 PM
Foreclosureland
5:00 PM
Philippines 10:00 AM
Central Europe 2:00 AM
Palestine/Egypt 2:00 AM
East Coast 8:00 PM
Continental Divide
6:00 PM
West Upsidedown-Tomorrowland 8:00 AM
Tokyo, JP 9:00 AM
East Upsidedown-Tomorrowland
11:00 AM

Spurs
(9-6)
Matchups

Celtics
(14-4)

Tony Parker
London Frog

Point Guard

Oh lalalalala, this is going to be a tough category for us to win. Rondo takes fewer shots and accumulates fewer points per game than TP, but gathers more rebounds and provides more assists. Rondo is an inch shorter than the Wee Frenchman, though, so there's that. . . . And he, unlike Tony, is a craptacular free-throw shooter (43% so far this season). So let's try two strategies on him: Foul and be fouled.

Advantage: Tied


Rajon Rondo
"I have a 5-year extension, b*tches. How you like me now?"

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Keith Bogans
He's your bogeyman, he's your bogeyman--turn him on

Shooting Guard

Well, heck, this one doesn't look good for us on paper either. Ray Allen detonated the other night against Charlotte for 27 points, and once he's dialed in, it's hard to stop him. And he may be the weak point in the Celtics defensive game, but that's not saying much. Bogans has shown signs of improvement at both ends of the court along with his increase in minutes, but I don't think I'll be generating much outrage if I give the white box to Allen.

Advantage: Celtics


Ray Allen
Streaky Clean

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Richard Jefferson
Time to Shine, RJ (no, I don't mean your head).

Small Forward

I may be crazy, but I think RJ can run with Paul Pierce. The stats don't bear me out--Pierce averages higher in points, rebounds, assists, and efficiency--but let's call it a hunch. In mid-November, Pierce bruised a knee, but it didn't seem to slow him down much. He is aggressive, and Jefferson is going to have to push back.

Advantage: Celtics


Paul Pierce
Lifer in Boston

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Tim Duncan
"What's my secret? Theo introduced me to Youngevity!"

Power Forward

I don't care if he is Kevin Garnett--I'm calling this one for Timmy. Garnett seems to have found his shot after struggling early, but Duncan never lost his to begin with. And as Latin D just pointed out, Timmy isn't only playing as well as he ever has, he's improving. Tim Kness for the win.

Advantage: Spurs


Kevin Garnett
::fist pump, chest thump, hip bump::

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Antonio McDyess
Due for a double double?

Center

Guess who's leading the league in FG percentage at 64.3%? Go on, guess! You'll never believe it. Here's a hint--it's one of the two players featured in this match-up. Indeed, potential all-star Kendrick Perkins has really upped his game this season, most recently going 9 of 10 against the Bobcats and picking up 12 rebounds in the process. His interior defense has been stellar as well. This is going to be a tough, tough game for the Spurs if Perk is playing with confidence. Meanwhile, it's been two steps forward, one step back with Dice, who looked great against Houston but was held scoreless in only 12 minutes of play against the Sixers. We desperately need a good game from him tonight.

Advantage: Celtics


Kendrick Perkins
Surprise!

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Matt Bonner
Fines, Lifetime Total: $0**

Bench & Role Players

So. I don't know if you've noticed lately, but our bench is a baaaad mother--shut your mouth! I know we usually put Manu's picture up there, but really, Bonner has been the baddest of the BAM, making 4 of 6 3-point attempts in our last game. Let's hope he still has the hot hand, because Boston has Sheed on the bench, and Sheed brings sheer stubborn strength and defense. Matty, um, doesn't. But between Ginobili and Blair, AND Finley, AND Hill, AND (maybe?) Romaju, our bench outclasses anyone's, even Boston's. Especially with Big Baby still out.
**It's true--Bonner has never been fined a red cent by the NBA. I know thanks to this nifty page listing every NBA fine and suspension since 1994. Fun!

Advantage: Spurs


Rasheed Wallace
Fines, Season Total (so far): $30,000

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Gregg Popovich
"Bring on Sager. I have a special sneer I've been saving just for him."

Coach

Y'all probably know that Doc Rivers finished out his playing career in San Antonio, and that he was a broadcaster for the Spurs for a little while before moving on to Turner and then to coaching. But did you know that more than a decade ago, Spurs fans were begging the front office to fire Popovich and replace him with Rivers? Yep, in a 1997 San Antonio Express-News poll, 93% of the respondents wanted Pop OUT. But enough history. Who has the edge today? You got me. Rivers has done a great job this season. He and Pop are in much the same predicament with aging stars, but their approaches could not be more different. Pop has had to work around injuries to Parker and Duncan, starting no fewer than 8 different lineups. Meanwhile, the Celtics have started the same five players every single game this season. Wild, huh?

Advantage: Tied


Doc Rivers
Welcome back, Doc. Now please lose, kthxbai.
images via yahoo.com

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Other Factors

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Mojo

You can't get much closer in mojo than the Spurs and Celtics are right now. Both teams are on 5-game winning streaks. Both teams have gone 7 and 3 in their last 10 games. But! The once-formidable New England Patriots were just thrashed on Monday Night Football, and the Boston Red Sox got swept by the Angels this year in the ALDS. San Antonio doesn't even have a football or baseball team, so we don't have to worry about any messy bad-mojo overspill. It's just that easy! ::smile; tooth sparkle::

Advantage: Spurs

Prediction: Spurs over the Celtics by a hair's breadth

We win. Because we have to.

Keys To The Game

  • Rebounds - The one area we seem to hold a meaningful advantage over the Celtics is in our ability to grab boards. We'll have to capitalize on that as well as execute flawless defense--unless Boston keeps up their torrid shooting streak, in which case, we might not get many rebound opportunities on the defensive end.
  • Perimeter Shooting - Sure would be nice to have Romaju back and in sharpshooter mode tonight. Since we can't count on that, we'll have to hope that Matty is still feeling confident and that Finley starts to feel it. I don't know why, but I have a feeling this game is going to come down to a dagger 3 in the final seconds. But from which team?
  • Intensity - Yeah, the Celtics have Mr. Intensity on their side, but all the posturing and chest beating in the world can't faze those who keep their eyes on the prize. The kind of intensity we need will come from focusing on following through on every play, driving hard to the paint, and fighting for every possession. (Rage, are you listening?)

Strength of Schedule

The Spurs are coming off yet another mini-off-season (three endless days of rest since we defeated the Sixers on Sunday). Boston has had more time to gel as a team, playing 18 games to our 15, so we're going to have to get our rhythm back as soon as--no, make that before we step onto that court.

Last Time They Met

Last year we split our two games with the Celtics, winning on the road 105-99 in February and losing at home 80-77 (ugh) in March.

Some Other Reading

Celtics

Celtics Blog - The busiest NBA blog on SBNation, for a reason. Go check it out - Jeff Clark and friends do a great job keeping C's fans up to speed.

Celtics Hub - The TrueHoop blog for the Celtics. Depending on which one of the writers you ask, Nocioni is a great idea or a terrible idea.

Spurs

48 Minutes of Hell: Best damn TrueHoop affiliate out there. Always a must visit Spurs site.
Project Spurs: Now featuring live chats, call-in shows and podcasts (in Spanish too).

Evidence that civilization continues to crumble, or, as we non-Luddites call it, Twitter:
JackMcClinton smh lost three straight games in ncaa 10 in my season i was undefeated, the computer be knowing my plays!
manuginobili Día muuuy largo hoy. Sesión de autógrafos, video, pesas, entrenamiento duro y tratamientos. A la cama temprano! // Looong day today. Autograph session, video, weights, hard practice and treatments. Going to bed early.

MoneyMase Yo, does anybody have any advice for my loveable but hard headed english bulldog puppy? He is really trying my patience...
George_Hill3 Why not!!! I won't have Christmas spirit without it. I'm trying SA LOL. Not even one present under it SMH .... http://twitpic.com/rslxp
tp9network Hello ! Our series goes on with a 5th win against Philadelphia. Little by little, it's taking shape. Now we gotta be ready for our big game on Thursday: Boston!

You can also find all the official Spurs Sports & Entertainment Twitter accounts here: http://twitter.com/spurs/official/members

Where to Tune In

TV

This game will be aired on TNT. It's the early game, too, so we won't miss the first 4 minutes of play watching the preceding game end in a time-outfest.

Online

As always, NBA League Pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Most Spurs games will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area.

Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate. In fact, nobody can stop you from googling "atdhe". You can also shoot an email to dmenendez@gmail.com for more assistance.

Spurs League Pass audio is still free this year, so check it out.

Radio

If you're in the San Antonio area and aren't near a TV, tune in to WOAI (1200 AM).

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