Celtics

Stars, studs and duds: 'A good team win' vs. Spurs

Stars, studs and duds: 'A good team win' vs. Spurs

BOSTON – There was sense of jubilation inside the Boston Celtics’ locker room following their 108-94 win over the San Antonio Spurs.
 
Indeed, this wasn’t just another win.
 
This was a victory that was worth celebrating beyond it simply being another successful night to pad the win total.
 
Boston (5-2) beat San Antonio (4-3), a team that has had the Celtics’ number like no one else, a team that came into the TD Garden sporting an 11-game winning streak over the Green Team.

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Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum said he didn’t discover just how dominant the Spurs had been over Boston, until after the game.
 
“Y’all never beat San Antonio? Wow!’” Tatum told NBC Sports Boston he recalled telling his teammates when he was told of the longstanding losing skid.
 
“After I found that out … every win is a big win, but knowing that just added a little something extra,” Tatum said.
 
Brad Stevens, in Stevens-like fashion, didn’t seem overly emotional about the victory.
 
“They’re just a hard team to beat,” Stevens said. “I think a lot of people have struggled against them. They’ve got really good players. Obviously, great coaching. And just a way that they play on both ends of the court that’s really hard to play against.”
 
And while the Spurs were missing Kawhi Leonard (right quadriceps tendinopathy), Tony Parker (G-League assignment following quadriceps injury) and Manu Ginobili (rest), San Antonio has often proven itself to be just as dangerous a foe when key players are missing.
 
“They’re the type of team it doesn’t matter who’s out there,” said Boston’s Al Horford. “Their system, the way they play. So for us, it was a good team win.”
 
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Monday’s 108-94 Celtics win which extended their winning streak to five straight.
 
 
STARS
 
Kyrie Irving

He began the game with the kind of offensive aggression we have not seen up to this point. He led all scorers with 24 points on 10-for-16 shooting along with six assists and three steals.
 
Al Horford

It was another strong game for Horford who tallied his second double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds with five assists and two steals.
 
 

STUDS
 
Jaylen Brown

The last couple of games have been offensive stinkers for Brown, who still made a significant impact with his defense. Monday was the best of both worlds for the second-year Brown who had 18 points on 6-for-11 shooting with four rebounds and two assists.
 
Brandon Paul

He got a good chunk of his points when the game was out of reach for San Antonio, but that still shouldn’t take away from a solid night when he tallied a team-high 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting with five rebounds and a blocked shot.
 
 
 
DUDS

LaMarcus Aldridge

With no Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili, the Spurs had to lean heavy on Aldridge. But Aldridge fell well short of delivering for his team, finishing with just 11 points on 5-for-13 shooting which included him going scoreless in the second half while missing all four of his field goal attempts.

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WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic

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WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic

Tune into NBC Sports Boston to watch the Celtics host the Magic at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by Nissan on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game preview: Time for Streak 2.0?

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Mapping out the Celtics' next super long win streak

Mapping out the Celtics' next super long win streak

That Celtics win streak was dope. Let’s map out an even longer one that probably won’t happen. 

Nobody’s actually expecting them to keep the pace they’ve established with their recently concluded run. Still, with 63 games remaining, there’s still time for the Celtics to have up to three win streaks of even longer than 16 games. So, because it’s the holidays and the holidays are all about positivity (fun move you’ve probably picked up from movies: You can say “the holidays are all about _____” and just put in whatever you want and it will work), let’s map out the next win streak. 

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A big part of the Celtics’ 16-gamer (and get ready to say “duh”) is that they were better than a lot of the teams they beat. But they also beat one team that was without question better than them and beat a few teams that could certainly beat them on any given night. 

Here’s a rough breakdown of the 16 games: 

- Even if they didn’t go as smoothly as anticipated, nine games were against what could be classified as easy prey based on their rosters and how those teams were playing: The 76ers, the Knicks, the Kings, the Hawks twice, the Lakers, the Hornets, the Nets and the Mavericks. 

- Let’s say that the Heat (whom they played and beat during the streak before Miami snapped the streak Wednesday) and Magic weren’t perceived pushovers, but rather unremarkable opponents. 

- Four games were against what one could call worthy opponents for the Celtics: the Bucks, the Spurs (though they were missing Kawhi Leonard), the Thunder and the Raptors. 

- Nobody was ever pretending the Celtics were actually better than the Warriors. 

So that breaks the 16 games into one game against an unequivocally superior opponent, four against worthy opponents, two against unremarkable teams, and nine joke books. 

Of course, there are several variables that can be thrown into that, such as the fact that the C’s beat one of the aforementioned good teams (Toronto) without Kyrie Irving and nearly lost to two of those trash teams (Charlotte and Dallas). You can’t predict injuries just like you shouldn’t predict win streaks, but let’s take all the information we have and try to find the next one:

STARTING FRIDAY

Friday vs. Magic (trash; probable win)

Saturday at Pacers (unremarkable; potential loss)

A back-to-back after a holiday with the second game on the road against a team that’s been way better than expected? I don’t like the sound of it. 

Nov. 27 vs. Pistons (worthy opponent; potential loss)

Are they overrated? Maybe, but Pistons currently hold the second spot in the Eastern Conference. Whether it’s the Pacers or the Pistons, I think this short stretch prevents a speed bump. The streak might have to wait. 

STARTING NOV. 30

Nov. 30 against Sixers (upgraded to unremarkable based on recent play; still win)

Remember: The last streak started against the Sixers. Hopefully, Kyrie pays that fans’ way to Boston for a halftime reunion. 

Dec. 2 vs. Suns (trash; win)

Dec. 4 vs. Bucks (worthy opponent; win)

Celtics aren’t losing to those sons of guns twice at home. 

Dec. 6 vs. Dallas (trash; win)

Can you get revenge on a team for almost beating you? Yes. The Celtics will. 

Dec. 8 at Spurs (worthy opponent; win)

Until I see Kawhi on the court, this one is a win. 

Dec. 10 at Detroit (worthy opponent; win)

The Pistons play the Spurs, Bucks and Warriors the three previous games. They’ll be all tuckered out. 

Dec. 11 through Dec. 23 (mix of unremarkable and trash opponents; seven wins)

Dec. 25 vs. Wizards (worthy opponent; win)

Terry Rozier becomes a household name with a Christmas performance for the ages. 

Dec. 27 at Charlotte (trash; win) 

Dec. 28 vs. Houston (worthy opponent; win) 

Dec. 31 vs. Brooklyn (trash; loss)

The Celtics are 0-1 the days prior to holidays this season. The streak ends at 18. 

THE REST OF THE SEASON

We'll assess it then, but for now, let's say undefeated (including playoffs).

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