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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Boston Celtics

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The Spurs are yet to lose on the road but face a tough test today, playing in Boston in the first game of a back-to-back.

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Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs @ Boston Celtics

TD Garden, Boston, MA
Date: 11/25/16, Time: 12:00 PM Spurs Time
TV: FSSW - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

Most people would place the Spurs and Celtics in the second tier of their respective conferences, at least at this point in the season. But with starting fives at full strength, both appear to be trending in the right direction as they get a bit more settled with their new pieces. That should make today's matinee game a fun one, provided all the tryptophan's worn off by the 1pm tipoff.

For the Celtics, the return of Jae Crowder (ankle) and debut of newcomer Al Horford (concussion) have been huge after a shaky 3-4 start. They've gone 5-1 with Horford, with their only loss being to Golden State. The Spurs continue to be a work in progress, but they've been good enough most nights with Tony Parker and Danny Green back in the starting lineup.

San Antonio beat Boston in their two meetings last year, both in close finishes. That was before Boston addressed the most glaring hole in their starting lineup at center, giving coach Brad Stevens a perfect complement to his floor-spreading, pass-heavy system. It sets up an interesting clash of teams that have very different personnel but fundamentally similar styles.

Can the Spurs keep the road streak alive?

In a weird reversal from last season, the Spurs have won all eight of their games away from the AT&T Center thus far. Logic suggests their luck could run out as early as this afternoon, against a solid team that can stretch their D and give Kawhi some trouble.

Spurs logic suggests it'll actually happen tomorrow against the lowly Wizards.

Cross-matching

The Spurs may not want to stick Parker on the quicker Isaiah Thomas. They hid the Wee Frenchman on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist against Charlotte on Tuesday and may do the same tonight by putting him on Celtics defensive specialist, Jae Crowder. That should leave Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green chasing around Thomas and Avery Bradley, who's having a career year (18 points, three assists and eight! rebounds per game).

That should solve one problem for San Antonio, but the team still has a lot of work to do in rotating when a breakdown occurs.

The Spurs' three-point D will be tested again

This seems relevant.

Not having Dewayne Dedmon (who, I presume, will be out again) hurts against a motion-heavy team with floor-spacing bigs. We'll see how Pau fares in the opening period, but you'd think a steady diet of ball movement, pick and rolls and pick and pops should mean less minutes for him today and maybe a few more for guys like David Lee (revenge game?) and Davis Bertans.

vs

San Antonio Spurs

(Record: 11-3)

Boston Celtics

(Record: 9-6)

November 25, 2016

TD Garden, Boston, MA

12:00 PM CDT

TV: FSSW

Starters

Tony Parker

PG

Isaiah Thomas

Danny Green

SG

Avery Bradley

Kawhi Leonard

SF

Jae Crowder

LaMarcus Aldridge

PF

Amir Johnson

Pau Gasol

C

Al Horford


Vegas line: Spurs by 3.

Game prediction: Celtics by 5.

For the Celtics fans' perspective, visit Celtics Blog.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher.

As always, PtR's Gamethread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. But if you're not able to log in here, you can try the Fanvana app which helps connect sports fans and was created by a fellow Spurs fan. Check out the free app on iOS or Android to discover other Spurs fans and join the live chatter for tonight's game. You can follow PtR's tweet stream directly on Fanvana as the game unfolds.