After what was one of the slowest starts I've ever seen to an NBA basketball game, the Spurs held off the Celtics ultimately with offensive runs. The silver and black shot a poor 37% from the field in the first half, but forced the Celtics shoot a miserable 29%, and only allowed 31 first half points.
The Spurs began the game missing quite a few makable shots, but looked relatively good defensively in the first half. Runs to close out both the first and second quarters gave the team a nice 13 point cushion going into halftime.
The Spurs had a sloppy 10 turnovers in the third quarter, which allowed the Celtics to cut the lead to single digits a few times, and the sloppiness continued into the fourth. Luckily, the Spurs killed Boston's momentum every time it made a run, not allowing the Celtics to get over the hump. Manu Ginobili, Boris Diaw, and Patty Mills were good off the bench, as they have been to start the season, and combined for 31 points on 11-of-19 shooting
Kawhi Leonard is continuing to show us all of the weapons in his offensive arsenal. The addition of his midrange game is as thing of beauty, reminding me slightly of Michael Jordan with his step back and turnaround jumpers . Although the midrange game is slowly dying in this new three-point shooting league, Kawhi is using it efficiently, so I don't see anyone telling him to stop any time soon. He finished with 19 points, five boards, two assists and two steals.
LaMarcus Aldridge finished with another double-double, finished with a game high 24 points along with 14 boards and five assists, and hit three huge jumpers in a row late in the game while the Celtics attempted to make a run. It was a great sign that we can give him the ball when we need him to be "Blazers" Aldridge. LaMarcus is completely invested in the "process" of finding his role on this team, and it shouldn't be long before everything clicks. David West, who didn't see the floor until the third quarter, is still slightly struggling to find his place off the bench, but he is another of the Spurs' new additions who seems to be working to find where he fits.
It isn't exactly "The Beautiful Game" Spurs, and the end of the game was perhaps too close for comfort, but the team is making progress every game adjusting to personal. SA - well, mostly Kawhi and LaMarcus - hit some big shots down the stretch to keep Boston from ever gaining an edge. A good win to put the Spurs at 2-1, with two more east coast road games coming up.
The win over Boston fittingly allowed Tony Parker, Tim, and Manu to pass Celtics' legends Larry Bird, Kevin Mchale, and Robert Parish as the winningest trio in NBA history, with an incredible 541 wins.
Tim Duncan passed the 26,000 points milestone; one of only fourteen players in NBA history to accomplish that feat.