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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Boston Celtics

With a few days’ rest and a pair of practices under their belt, the Spurs will look to complete the season sweep of the visiting Boston Celtics.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Boston Celtics Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The first meeting between these two teams gave fans of the Silver and Black a bit of everything: a Davis Bertans career-high (15 points), the definitive David Lee Revenge Game, and an exciting win that came down to the final moments.

Tonight will be the final time the Spurs and Celts meet this season, with the visitors missing an important piece in Isaiah Thomas. The point guard’s groin injury is the latest in a string of maladies that have prevented Boston from trying to answer the question on whether they can be a possible contender to Cleveland in the east. They’ve only had their starting five together for 10 of their first 24 games.

The Spurs have their own ongoing questions, but they’ve been better at banking those Ws amid all the the uncertainty. Having a Kawhi Leonard helps, and even with concerns about how his defensive impact is being mitigated, Leonard’s brilliance has proven to the difference-maker most nights. He had 25, 10, 4 and 2 in the Spurs’ earlier win over the Celtics.

Also, re: Matt Moore’s Kawhi article, this reference feels in play:

San Antonio Spurs (19-5) vs. Boston Celtics (13-11)

Dec. 14, 2016 | 8:30 CST
Watch: ESPN | FSSW Listen: 1200 AM WOAI

Spurs injuries: **UPDATE: LaMarcus Aldridge (rest)**

Celtics injuries: Isaiah Thomas (groin), James Young (illness)

Rest and practice(s) should help

The Spurs haven’t played since Saturday’s morale-boosting thumping of the Brooklyn Nets. Since then, Pop has managed to squeeze in not one but two full practices, after not conducting any since November 7th. It’s a touch optimistic to think those sessions will immediately fix what ails this team, but it’s definitely a start. We’ll see if we can spot any adjustments in rotations or performance between tonight and tomorrow’s SEGABABA in Phoenix.

Boston will need a solid game from Smart

The Celtics offense becomes easier to scheme for with the team’s top scorer and penetrator not in uniform. Thomas being out puts pressure on Marcus Smart to be more of a two-way player, something Boston hopes he develops into anyway. Smart had a solid game at OKC a few nights ago, going for 11, 9 and 6, and the Celtics will want more of the same tonight.

Spurs should win the battle of the boards, again

The Spurs haven’t been dominant in the paint against many teams this season, but the Celtics are one team that they thoroughly outrebounded in their first meeting a few weeks back. That advantage proved key in the game’s final moments, when LaMarcus Aldridge pulled down a big offensive rebound that helped ice the game for San Antonio.

Vegas line: Spurs by 8.

Game prediction: Spurs by 12.

For the Celtics fans' perspective, visit CelticsBlog.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher.

PtR's Gamethread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. You can also follow along with the action through PtR's Twitter feed.