Losing to the elite teams in the NBA isn’t all that shocking when you consider the lack of time spent playing together by the Boston Celtics’ starters.
But Wednesday’s 108-101 at San Antonio was painful reminder of what’s the Celtics’ biggest problem most of this season.
SPURS 108, CELTICS 101:
- Highlights: San Antonio Spurs 108, Boston Celtics 101
- Despite 'pretty high' frustration level, Celtics believe they're making progress
- Celtics come up short in 108-101 loss to Spurs
They make their share of plays every night.
It’s the ones down the stretch that far too often result in the Celtics coming up short.
“That’s exactly what it was,” Marcus Smart told reporters after the loss. “We couldn’t get a stop when we needed it the most. We played a veteran team tonight. They made us pay every time we made a mistake.”
And while Boston certainly had its share of miscues against the Spurs, ultimately this game was decided by the Celtics’ inability to get defensive stops which was supposed to be a strength of this team this season.
Even with the team riding a three-game losing streak, head coach Brad Stevens is still upbeat about his team’s progress.
“We had our opportunities but didn’t maximize them,” Stevens told reporters after the loss.
Fortunately for the Celtics, they won’t have long before they’ll be back on the court with a chance to snap their current losing skid.
Celtics guard Marcus Smart explains how he handles tough losses and not allow it to adversely affect him going forward.
“You just have to move forward, move on,” Smart said. “You have to train yourself to knock these games out, just like you do the good games. The bad games, you gotta let them go because you play again soon. That’s the part of being a professional.”
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Wednesday night’s game.
The Boston Celtics had no answer for Leonard, at either end of the floor. He led the Spurs with 26 points and six assists.
He was one of the few bright spots for the Celtics, putting together a decent game scoring the ball as well as defensively. Bradley finished with his ninth double-double this season, tallying 25 points and 10 rebounds in addition to six assists and three steals.
He couldn’t make a shot when these two played on Nov. 25. But he was a very different, far more impactful performer on Wednesday as he tallied a double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds to go with six assists and two steals.
The Celtics bench played a lot better on Wednesday than they did when these two met last month, and Rozier had a lot to do with that improvement. He finished with 12 points, his third double-figure scoring game in Boston’s last four games.
Tony Parker was pretty quiet most of the night and then … the fourth quarter arrived. That’s when the veteran guard scored 10 of his 16 points to go with four assists.
Horford never got into any kind of flow or rhythm for the Celtics, which was surprising when you consider how porous the Spurs should have been defensively with David Lee in and LaMarcus Aldridge (rest) out. He had 13 points, missing eight of his 12 shot attempts. He has to play better than this in games of this magnitude.