In what might be the lowest moment of the season to date, the San Antonio Spurs lost to the Boston Celtics in overtime after leading by as much as 32 points. No Kemba Walker for the Celtics tonight didn’t mean there was no cardiac moments in this game, as there were game winning plays throughout. Devin Vassell started his second straight game for the Spurs replacing the injured Derrick White for the rook’s third start of his career.
As you can imagine if the Spurs dropped a big lead it obviously meant they had one at one stage. This lead started from the tipoff, as the Spurs were 6-8 shooting early including 2 for 2 from three by point guard Dejounte Murray. The Spurs made their intentions clear early on as they went on a 21-2 run to lead by 25 in the first. Tatum had scored all of Boston’s first 14 points before finally with 45 seconds to go in the opening frame Tristan Thompson scored for the Celts. Boston committed 6 turnovers in the first while San Antonio scored a season high 39 points in a quarter.
The second opened up with both teams battling as they went 7-7 in the early exchanges. The Celtics were going to Tatum on every play to try and make things happen, the Spurs did an alright job on collapsing on him in the paint and making every bucket tough. The even better news for the Silver & Black was that they were hitting everything on the other end, especially from deep. They were up 27 midway through the term. A Keldon Johson layup a few minutes later gave them their first 30-point lead of the night. Tatum had 24 at the break but the Celtics found themselves down 77-48.
Rookie Devin Vassell had a tough game, playing just 15 minutes but this had more to do with the foul trouble he got himself into. He picked up his fourth personal foul early in the 3rd and Pop turned to Lonnie Walker to play big minutes. SkyWalker heated up throughout the period hitting 4 threes and playing great basketball. But the Celtics kept on grinding as they were starting to out physical the Spurs and this helped them trim the lead. A 15-5 run to end the quarter brought them to within 13 at the quarters end. It was a 42 point scoring term by the home team.
The 4th quarter felt like a playoff game with the 25% crowd making noise for the first time all night, willing their team back into it. And it was Jayson Tatum who time after time kept showing up for them. He hit a 4-point play to bring the game to single digits before a Smart three got it down to 5. The teams then traded buckets for a bit before once again the Celtics turned up the heat. Unlike most opposition the Spurs have played this season the Celtics decided to double team DeMar down the stretch and this definitely halted San Antonio’s offense. DJ hit a crucial floater to put the Spurs up two with under a minute to play but Tatum once again stepped up, as he hit a 3 point shot to put the Celtics into the lead. San Antonio then turned over the ball and had to foul, luckily Tatum only hit one of his two foul shots and the Spurs had a chance to tie or take the lead with 16 seconds to play. Pop chose no timeouts and let DeMar do his thing, DeRozan drove and got Smart to foul with 10 to play. DDR sinked both and the game was tied. Then Jayson Tatum missed a turnaround jumper at the buzzer and the game was headed to overtime.
The Spurs offense started horrendously to start the extra period as late shot and turnovers caused panic among the group. They steadied the ship with a 4-0 run before Boston countered with their own 4 point run. The Celtics were up two with under two to play when DeMar saw the pineapple and got an AND-1 on Marcus Smart. Spurs up 1. Tatum again countering with a two of his own to put himself well into the 50’s for the game. Then came one of Lonnie Walker’s biggest shots of his career. Time running out, ball comes flying to Lonnie who makes a quick decision, starts to drive, stops, pulls up and drains the mid ranger J. Spurs back up 1. Unfortunately, this was the last time San Antonio was up as Jaylen Brown who had been Ice-Cold all day hit a huge three before a perplexing play call by Pop after a timeout to go for a lob action failed and now the Celtics were well in control. The free throw game stated and Tatum got to 60 as the Spurs couldn’t find a way back and lost their second in a row.
- Rudy Gay played his 1,000 game tonight in which he also moved up into the top 100 scorers of all time with his 16 points on the night. Whether this is Rudy’s last season with us or not, he has been a great dude for the past couple of years. Some may like him, other may not but he always played with a will to win and had a great sense of comradery with his teammates. Congrats on the 1,000 games and being a top 100 scorer in NBA history Rudy!
- Control of the game. The Spurs lost concentration and the control of the game in the second half, and the worrying thing is this isn’t the first time this has happened. The Celtics started to push the pace more in the 3rd and 4th and the Spurs never tried to slow the game down and play at a pace they were more comfortable with. This pace allowed for the crowd to get back into the game which pushed the Celtics players to make this comeback tonight.
- Tail of two halves for DJ. I really thought tonight I was going to end up giving my SVP to Dejounte after he started 9/9 and had 20 points in the first half. But the second was the complete opposite. He made just one field goal the rest of the way and played with a lack of confidence and aggressiveness which is strange after one of the best halves of his career.
- Spurs have played in tons of fun, close games this season. A nail biter against New Orleans with clutch shot making from DeMar, a shootout against the Wizards and then tonight’s game, and these were all in the last week! I could mention tens and tens of games this season that were just as fun as tonight’s, so a loss sucks, especially the way the guys lost today but on the bright side there are lots of teams around the league losing and playing bad basketball in bad games. You can’t say that about San Antonio.
- My SVP (Spurs Valuable Player) for tonight’s game is DeMar DeRozan. 30 points, a career high 14 assists and 5 rebounds. Plus, two steals! He is really hitting his stride as we enter the final stretch of games, he couldn’t get us to the finish line tonight but that wasn’t for a lack of trying. The dude is a menace and that AND-1 in OT against a superb on ball defender in Smart was exceptional.
- Shout out to Tatum for tying Larry Bird’s Celtics game high of 60 points. Sucks it had to come against us but you can never complain watching such young talent ball out. This league is amazing.
Next game: Vs the Sixers on Sunday
10 games to go in the season for the Silver & Black, they currently sit 9th in the Western Conference, and in a play-in spot at 31-31. Every game is big now, ball out San Antonio! GO SPURS GO