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Game Preview #72: San Antonio Spurs @ Boston Celtics

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Have the mighty really fallen? Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett used to rule the NBAverse with their contrasting demeanor, but now find their teams in the heat of a drawn-out battle for prime playoff positioning. Boston has the better record, but if they played in the uber-competitive West, would they still be able to brag about achieving the same? And while the Spurs are considerably younger, both teams centerpiece players are pretty old as far as NBA age goes.

I can't say anything more except that I expect a good battle from these two teams. Or maybe, I'm just hoping the Spurs still keep playing with fire and some desperation, and not get blown out on the road. We know that this team still has those nights, but I guess compared to last season, they have been few and far between.

No frills preview, after the jump.

Before anything else, here's some pre-game music in a desperate attempt to pump you up more than you could ever be pumped up.

Considering this is a Sunday game (for most people, at least), I'm still counting on a lot of you beaches to be at the game thread.

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San Antonio Spurs @ Boston Celtics
Where: TD Banknorth Garden - Boston, MA
When: March 28, 2010, 7:00 PM Spurs time
Watch: My35 HD, ESPN... uh-oh.

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How They Stack Up
26-11 Home 23-12
17-17 Road 24-13
101.2
Offense 98.9
96.5 Defense 94.3
47.2 FG% 48.2
36.5 3-pt% 34.8
74.4 FT% 74.4
42.5 Rebounds 38.9
12.9 TOs 14.4
7-3 Last 10 7-3
Won 1
Streak Won 2
2nd, Southwest Position 1st, Atlantic

Country/Time Zone Game Time
FANGIOLAND 9:00 PM
Foreclosureland
5:00 PM
Philippines 8:00 AM
Central Europe 1:00 AM
Palestine/Egypt 1:00 AM
East Coast 8:00 PM
Continental Divide
6:00 PM
West Upsidedown-Tomorrowland 7:00 AM
Tokyo, JP 8:00 AM
East Upsidedown-Tomorrowland
10:00 AM

Spurs
(43-28)
Matchups

Celtics
(47-25)

George Hill
Jessica

Point Guard

The arm length on these two guards are enough to cover an entire half court. If there's a guard for me that resembles a lot like Rajon Rondo, it's George Hill - albatross-like length, strong penetrators and good perimeter defenders. However, the comparisons stop there. Rondo is really good at directing the Celtics offense, while George is still learning how to run a team, but I think is more consistent shooting the the medium-to-long range jumpers. Rajon's defense is also better than Hill's, and Rondo's knack of making timely steals has always been huge for the C's. George has really improved by leaps and bounds this season, but it's hard to bet against a proven commodity like Rondo.

Advantage: Celtics


Rajon Rondo
Big 4th

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Manu Ginobili
In God Mode

Shooting Guard

Ray Allen does not miss Bruce Bowen, and I bet after this game, he'll wish Manu would've been gone, too. Ray-Ray has been on the decline season after season but to be fair, he still keeps his deadly stroke and very much capable of exploding on offense. However, he's going to have his hands full with The Manu, who's been, as one Western Conference executive noted, "the best player in the West right now." I really won't argue wit dat.

Advantage: Spurs


Ray Allen
Rayneesha

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Richard Jefferson
The Lie

Small Forward

Paul Pierce is still the leader of this team and while the Celtics have struggled, he's still as reliable as ever, unlike, you know... some people.

Advantage: Celtics


Paul Pierce
The Truth

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Tim Duncan
Not Jumping

Power Forward

In a battle of washed up, former elite forwards, Timmeh is the less washed up, considering KG has been dragging his knees all season long and unable to ignite the Celtics defense's return to championship level. Still, these two warriors always seem to bring out the best in each other, so here's hoping that they will live up to the old rivalry.

Advantage: Spurs


Kevin Garnett
Not Flyiiiing

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Antonio McDyess
Former Piston

Center

It might be to our best interest if Kendrick Perkins is really not playing (left knee tendinits), as speculated. Rasheed Wallace's underperformance this season has so far mirrored SAM's, but I know that we got the guy with more heart so at least I'm counting on that.

Advantage: None


Rasheed Wallace
Former Piston; Fat

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Matt Bonner
Scalabrine of the West

Bench & Role Players

Okay, okay I know I should've put Nate Rob or Big Baby or whoever in there except Scal, but sorry I really can't help it. It's like a match made in heaven! Now, only if Pop and Doc oblige us and play them at the same time.

On a more serious note, it feels strange to be going up against FinDog. Shouts of FIIINDOOOOG, FINPERRO! or ZOOOOMBIIEEEE in the game thread will totally be understandable. While the Celts have sort of bolstered their bench with the additions of Krypto-Nate, Finley, Marquis Daniels and holdovers Tony Allen and Glen Davis, it's surprising that the Celtics bench hasn't really been considered in the best bench discussion (or at least that's what I've not heard). So, the Manu-less yet more cohesive BAM still gets the nod here.

Advantage: Spurs


Brian Scalabrine
Bonner of the East

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Gregg Popovich
Hitting His Stride

Coach

Dear Doc, You played for San Antonio before and have already won a ring. Please take one for the team and give us this win. kthxbai.

Advantage: Tied


Doc Rivers
Ubuntu Chief
images via yahoo.com

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Other Factors

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Intangibles

Both teams are 7-3 in their last ten games and are in need of a lot of momentum heading into the playoffs due to disappointing regular seasons. San Antonio, however, due to the very tight playoff race in the West, is the more desperate ball club.

Advantage: Spurs

Mojo

Dead. To. Me.

Prediction: Spurs win! Spurs win! Spurs win!

Because we have to and need to.

Keys To The Game

  • Rebounding - Surprisingly, we're a much better rebounding team compared to the Celtics, who have a pretty decent collection of tall people. With Kendrick Perkins out, we must own the boards. Offensive rebounding will help especially if the shooting of Mason and Bonner remain ice cold, which I kind of expect them to still be.
  • Balanced Attack - While Manu can be the most entertaining player to watch when he's on, I'd prefer he saves some energy and not gas out come playoff time. It's not just RJ and Hill who should keep on stepping up, but also the other guys like Blair and DOOM, whose contributions to the Cleveland win need to be replicated to get out of Boston with a win.
  • Where's My Shot? - Life would be so much easier if somebody finally returned Mase's shot. Bonner having a good shooting night helps a lot, too.

Strength of Schedule

While it's heartening to look at the schedule and see New Jersey up next, it's a SEGABABA so in other words, TRAP GAME! I know the Nets suck but you know, at least they're not going to beat the worst regular season record.

Meanwhile, the Celtics are starting a tough three game homestand, facing off against OKC two days after this game. Houston then comes to visit to round out the homestand.

Last Time They Met

The Celts won that one in Texas, 90-83, but we all know times have changed since that one.

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).

Return of the Twitter Round Up
DeJuan Blair Chillin thinking bout the time my little brother@geezy45 tried to save the ball out of bounds at halfcourt behind his back up oz and made It
manuginobili http://bit.ly/9hxY4F Introducing Nicola Ginobili, his bro, Dante, didn't want to be in the pic. Both r doing great. VERY happy!

tp9network Big win tonight!! At dinner with wifey!!! http://bit.ly/bTgyCS

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 ESPN. For those who still can't watch, read on.

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 poundingtherockmail@yahoo.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).