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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Boston Celtics

The Spurs’ 5-game road trip heads to TD Garden, where the Boston Celtics have yet to lose this season

NBA: Boston Celtics at San Antonio Spurs Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Halfway through the season, the Boston Celtics have the look of a contender, perhaps they’re even the team to beat. In their second season under head coach Joe Mazulla, their 31-9 record leads both conferences. That win/loss number includes a 19-0 record at home, a Celtics franchise record to start a season. Their top 6-7 guys, led by All Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, are as good as anyone’s, leading to top 3 placements in both Offensive Rating and Defensive rating. Much like it’s been the last few seasons for Boston, the ingredients are there for a late June run at the Larry O’Brien trophy.

The Spurs, meanwhile, are still in search for some consistency. They’ve played noticeably better since the calendar changed, even picking up a couple of wins against fellow bottom feeders in the Detroit Pistons and Charlotte Hornets, but success and the aforementioned consistency still eludes. The first half no-show Monday afternoon against the Atlanta Hawks and the furious second half near-comeback were emblematic of their season thus far. They’ll need that second half team to show up if they have any hope of keeping up with the Celtics within the confines of TD Garden.

San Antonio Spurs (7-32) at Boston Celtics (31-9)

January 17 2023 | 6:30 PM CT

Watch: BSSW | Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)

Spurs Injuries: Zach Collins, ankle (OUT), Sidy Cissoko, ankle (OUT), Charles Bassey, out for the year

Celtics Injuries: Derrick White, ankle (day to day), Jrue Holiday, elbow (day to day), Kristaps Porzingis, knee (day to day)

What to watch for

  • The Spurs need the Wemby from the 2nd half of the Atlanta game if they are to have a shot at winning in Boston. Wembanyama scored all 26 of his points in that 2nd half on a ridiculous 12/14 from the field, with the Spurs nearly pulling off the comeback as a result. Wembanyama had 21 points in 23 minutes against Boston when the two teams met in San Antonio back on New Year’s Eve.
  • Jaylen Brown has been on a tear over his last 5 games, scoring at least 30 in 4 of them and dropping a 40 piece against the Indiana Pacers. Brown sat out Boston’s Monday night game with a knee issue, but was missing from Tuesday’s injury report.
  • Former Spurs Derrick White is questionable for tonight’s matchup. White has had a career year to this point in the season and had what has become a typical game for him when he faced his former squad in San Antonio last month. With White and Jrue Holiday questionable for the game tonight, it’ll be interesting to see who Mazulla plugs in their place to fill out his backcourt.

  • Al Horford is just chugging along, still doing his thing. The 16-year vet has seemingly transitioned to more of a bench role, come off the pine 18 times this season in 33 games played. When he’s in though, he’s still the same smart defender he’s been throughout his career while being a key cog on offense with his unorthodox jump shot.
  • That 19-0 Celtic home record extends back to last year, for a total of 24 straight games. The best home record in NBA history is, ironically, the 1986 Boston Celtics. That squad, led by Larry Bird and a storied Big 3 of their own, went 40-1 on the old parquet floor of the legendary Boston Garden on their way to the championship that year.

For the Celtics fan’s perspective, please visit Celtics Blog.

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