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San Antonio at Boston, Final Score: Spurs succumb to a hellacious Celtics comeback, 140-143

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It was a tale of two halves as the Silver and Black crumble down the stretch.

San Antonio Spurs v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

The Spurs couldn’t outlast Boston in overtime, giving up a 32-point lead and falling back to .500 as Jayson Tatum put forth a legendary scoring performance in front of a raucous TD Garden audience to carry the Celtics to victory.

DeMar DeRozan paced the Silver and Black with 30 points and 14 assists, followed closely by 24 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists from Dejounte Murray. But Tatum was the star of the show, racking up a career-high 60 points.

Observations

  • Rudy Gay needed just six points to climb into the top 100 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list entering the night, and the veteran combo forward broke into the history books with a three-pointer in the second period. The 15th-year pro began the season in 111th place and has surpassed league legends like Randy Smith, Paul Arizin, Andre Miller, Stephon Marbury, James Worthy, Joe Dumars, Jerry Stackhouse, Tiny Archibald, Latrell Sprewell, and Buck Williams.
  • San Antonio dominated the first quarter, outscoring Boston 39-16 and forcing them into six turnovers. The Spurs were white-hot from the first tip, nailing an unbelievable 71.4% of their attempts from the field and holding everyone not named Jayson Tatum to two points on 1-of-14 shooting. And the fireworks didn’t stop there, as the Silver and Black poured in a season-high 77 first-half points at a season-best 71.4% clip.
  • Devin Vassell had arguably the worst game of his rookie campaign, which is such a shame considering it came in the first consecutive start of his young career. It wouldn’t have been much of a surprise to see head coach Gregg Popovich bench the spindly wing for a poor performance earlier this season. But with Derrick White sidelined, San Antonio’s first lottery pick in more than two decades should have a rare opportunity to play through his growing pains.
  • Jakob Poelt picked up an annoying yet understandable flagrant foul for inadvertently popping Jaylen Brown in the nose. The Austrian center has never been a dirty player, and this call highlights just how far the league has strayed from their once-rugged reputation. This sort of accidental contact probably would’ve been ignored a few decades ago, but it has become borderline unacceptable as the NBA has continued to prioritize offense.
  • DeMar DeRozan fired a gorgeous behind-the-back pass to Drew Eubanks, who finished with a feathery finger-roll, and that’s my nominee for San Antonio’s NBA Top Shot Moment of the night. The four-time All-Star has grown leaps and bounds as a facilitator since joining the Spurs in 2018 and has now registered more ten-assist games this season than in his previous 11 seasons combined. DeMar is also on pace to become the 15th player in NBA history to average at least seven assists and less than two turnovers per game in a single season.
  • The third quarter continued to be a significant problem for the Spurs as they gave up 42 points to the Celtics and allowed them to cut a 32-point lead to 13 heading into the final frame. San Antonio held the fifth-worst third-quarter deficit (-86) in the NBA entering the evening, and this dud brought them to a tie with the Sacramento Kings for 28th place (-102) in this category. unfortunately, this lapse in focus would end up being San Antonio’s undoing.
  • Dejounte Murray came out of the gates in a good rhythm, scoring 12 points in the opening frame and knocking down two three-pointers in the first four minutes of the game. While the fourth-year floor general was a perfect 9-of-9 at halftime, the script flipped, with Dejounte missing all but one of his second-half attempts. And Murray’s lone fourth-quarter make couldn’t have come at a better time as he drained a crucial floater to put the Spurs ahead by a pair with less than a minute remaining in regulation.
  • Patty Mills looked like he finally might be shaking off the rust when he went 2-of-3 from the field to kick off the contest, but the rim wasn’t so forgiving later on as several of his subsequent shot attempts rattled in and out of the basket. The undersized Australian marksman drilled an overtime triple to keep San Antonio’s hopes alive, but it ultimately was for naught. The second-unit sparkplug is now shooting a frigid 27-of-84 (32.9%) since April began.
  • Jayson Tatum showed Spurs fans exactly why he’s a two-time All-Star at 22-years-old. The former third overall pick had his way with San Antonio’s defense, notching a career-high 60 points, eight boards, and five assists. His stat line was undoubtedly impressive, only made more impressive considering it was his second 50-point effort of the MONTH. Boston has underachieved this season, but between Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the future of Beantown basketball is in good hands.
  • After failing to score in San Antonio’s overtime shootout with the Wizards on Monday, Lonnie Walker IV appears to be gaining some much-needed momentum as the regular season comes to a close. The third-year two-guard dropped 18 points on the Heat in his previous outing and 24 on Boston, including a clutch last-second midrange jumper in overtime. Coach Pop has expressed his desire to keep Lonnie in his role as a bench scorer, and as long as Patty Mills battles shooting woes, Lonnie should continue seeing plenty of touches.
  • Is there anyone who’s been more clutch than DeMar DeRozan over the last month? San Antonio’s star swingman has put the Spurs on his back in crunch time every time the contest comes down to the wire. He did his best to carry the Silver and Black past the finish line, but the rest of the supporting cast couldn’t help him get the job done.

For the Celtics fans’ perspective, visit Celtics Blog.

The San Antonio Spurs are back in action on Sunday as they return to the AT&T Center and play host to the Philadelphia 76ers.