The Celtics find themselves in a difficult place. After weathering the early storm brought on by the Ime Udoka situation ahead of the season, Boston was in possession of the NBA’s best record for much of the season. They’ve stumbled a bit since the All Star Break though, and are 7-5 to this point in March. A particular 3-game skid early in the month was all it took for the surging Milwaukee Bucks, on their tails for most of the season despite injuries to Khris Middleton, to finally break through and take over the #1 seed in the East.
That #1 seed is of the upmost importance out East, as whoever ends up with that top position would avoid having to play the Philadelphia 76ers until the Conference Finals. With every game important from here on out, the Celtics have quite a bit of ground to make up. They can’t afford to drop games at home to teams like the Spurs that are firmly lottery bound at this point and are just trying to get to the finish line. One of the games that they did drop this month though was to a team in the same boat as San Antonio is, a 111-109 loss to the Houston Rockets on the road, so anything is certainly possible tonight for the Silver and Black. Tonight’s game represents the final game of a 4-game road trip for the Spurs, who have gone winless so far to this point on said trip.
San Antonio Spurs (19-55) at Boston Celtics (51-23)
March 26, 2023 | 5:00 PM CT
Watch: BSSW | Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)
Spurs Injuries: Romeo Langford (day to day), Keldon Johnson (day to day), Jeremy Sochan (knee - OUT), Malaki Branham (day to day), Charles Bassey (OUT), Khem Birch (knee - OUT),
Celtics Injuries: Payton Pritchard (heel - OUT), Malcolm Brogdon (day to day)
What to watch for
- If Boston is able to finish with the best record in the league this season (still a possibility), it would make the best case for Jayson Tatum in the MVP conversation that’s been dominated by Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, and Giannis Antetokoumpo. Fresh off a run to the NBA Finals, Tatum has followed it up with his strongest season yet. He’s averaging a career-highs in a variety of statistics, including points, rebounds, assists, free throw attempts/makes, and 3 point attempts and makes.
- Sandro Mamukelashvili started last game against the Wizards, but with Zach Collins not on the injury report, he will likely come off the bench once again tonight.
- Former Spur Derrick White has been a key piece for the Celtics. White is averaging 12.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 4 assists per game in 74 games this season for the Celtics, starting in 62 of them. White is enjoying the best 3-point shooting season of his career, as he’s knocking down 38% of his long balls this year. He’s coming off a 22 point, 9 assist performance in a win over the Indiana Pacers.
- Spurs forward Julian Champagnie had a career high 12 points off the bench in the miss to the Wizards. Champagnie, an undrafted rookie, has played in just 9 games this season, 7 of them with San Antonio.
- Marcus Smart has struggled since returning from an ankle injury in late February that kept him out for 11 games. Smart has struggled mightily with his shot, especially in March, where he’s shooting just 37% from the field.
For the Celtics fan’s perspective, please visit Celtics Blog.
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