San Antonio Spurs

Gregg Popovich raves about time with Celtics players in FIBA World Cup

Gregg Popovich raves about time with Celtics players in FIBA World Cup

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Spurs, which tips off  Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Kyle & Scal have the call of the game at 5 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.

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For Gregg Popovich, his time coaching the four Celtics players who represented Team USA at the FIBA World Cup was time well spent.

Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart joined forces to form "Team Shamrock" as the C's four USA Basketball representatives over the summer. Ahead of Saturday's Celtics-Spurs matchup, San Antonio's longtime head coach raved about his experience coaching some of Boston's stars.

"I don’t know when I’ve enjoyed being with a group more," Popovich said per Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. "The four Celtics obviously and everybody else, it was like a daily clinic for about 48, 49 days."

That's quite the compliment coming from one of the most successful head coaches in NBA history.

On Saturday, the Celtics will look to end their struggles on the road vs. Popovich and the Spurs. Boston hasn't earned a win in San Antonio since 2011.

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NBA Highlights: Celtics earn first win in San Antonio since 2011, lose Hayward to injury

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USA Today Sports Images

NBA Highlights: Celtics earn first win in San Antonio since 2011, lose Hayward to injury

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Mavericks, which tips off Monday at 7:00 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Tommy have the call of the game at 7:30 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.

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FINAL SCORE: Celtics 135, Spurs 115

IN BRIEF: The Spurs scored the first seven points of the game against the Celtics, but after that, Boston was able to pull away. They finished the game with five scorers in double figures -- Jaylen Brown led the way with 30 -- and extended their win streak to seven. The bad news: Gordon Hayward suffered a left hand fracture and had to leave the game.

BOX SCORE

CELTICS RECORD: 7-1

HIGHLIGHTS

KEMBA FEEDS GORDON HAYWARD FOR EASY SLAM

TIME LORD SWATS A SWEET BLOCK

JAYLEN BROWN LEADS C'S IN FIRST-QUARTER SCORING

MARCUS SMART MAKES EPIC STEAL ON DEFENSE

WALKER DISHES TO DANIEL THEIS FOR LAY-IN

ROBERT WILLIAMS FINISHES AT THE RIM

GORDON HAYWARD SUFFERS HAND INJURY, X-RAYS REVEAL FRACTURE

ROBERT WILLIAMS LOGS ANOTHER MONSTER BLOCK

TIMELORD THROWS DOWN A MONSTER JAM

TIMELORD FINDS JAVONTE GREEN FOR SLAM DUNK

UP NEXT:
Vs. Dallas Mavericks, Monday, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Boston
Vs. Washington Wizards, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Boston

BLAKELY: What Gordon Hayward's injury means to the Celtics>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

NBA picks: Celtics vs. Spurs betting predictions, plays against the spread

NBA picks: Celtics vs. Spurs betting predictions, plays against the spread

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Spurs, which tips off  Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 5 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.

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The Celtics bring a six-game winning streak into a place that's been a house of horrors for them the past few years - San Antonio. Boston hasn't won there since 2011 and the Spurs have won 14 of the past 15 meetings overall, so something's gotta give for this late-afternoon matchup on Saturday.

The Celtics are coming off a 108-87 thrashing of the Charlotte Hornets in Kemba Walker's homecoming game Thursday night. On an off night for Walker (14 points), Gordon Hayward's resurgence continued to carry the C's. After a 20-point night, he's averaging 20.3 points and 7.9 rebounds a game. Jayson Tatum helped pick up the scoring slack with a team-high 23 in the win over the Hornets and Jaylen Brown returned after a three-game absence with a solid effort (12 points, five rebounds).

Here are the C's picks for this one, along with two other NBA's locks: 

(All odds provided by WestGate Superbook).

Boston Celtics at San Antonio Spurs, 5 p.m ET

Moneyline: This will be a close one. Celtics have the momentum, but the Spurs (-130) have their history at home and overall vs. Boston and the combo of LaMarcus Aldridge (20.1 ppg. career average against the C's)  and DeMar DeRozan (19.5 ppg vs. Boston) that could give them the edge on a C's team coming in for an odd start time.  Aldridge scored a season-high 39 on 19-for-23 shooting in San Antonio's 122-112 home win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night. DeRozan had 16 points and nine assists.
 
Point Spread: The line moved in some quarters to the Spurs as 1-point favorites, Westgate still has it as San Antonio -2 and a couple of against-the-spread trends are one the line here with the Celtics 5-0-1 ATS in their past six overall and the Spurs 11-3-1 ATS in their past 15 against the C's. Spurs are the NBA's third-best rebounding team (48.8), an area where the Celtics' banged-up frontcourt is lacking. That may give the edge to the Spurs (-2) for the cover. 

Point Total: Again, we're going with history here. The Spurs have hit the over in their past four home games against the Celtics and seven of their past eight overall. The C's have three 20-point plus scorers in Walker (24.4), Tatum (21.6) and Hayward (20.3), San Antonio counters with DeRozan (20.0) and Aldridge (19.0). Despite Boston's No. 4 NBA ranking in defensive efficiency, go with the OVER 217.5 point total. 

Pat's record picking the Celtics' moneyline, point spread and point total, pinch-hitting for Darren Hartwell: 3-0

NBA Locks of the Night

Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City Thunder (-11): From the how the mighty have fallen department: Steph Curry-less Golden State comes in 2-7 overall and 1-3 on the road after a 125-119 overtime loss at Minnesota despite a career-high 52 points from D'Angelo Russell. Look for OKC, 7-3 in their past 10 at home ATS, to bounce back from its loss to the Spurs and get a little payback for all those playoff losses over the years to Golden State.

Houston Rockets (-6.5) at Chicago Bulls: Despite the Rockets allowing 121.8 points per game (28th in the NBA), look for Houston to cover the 6.5 spread in Chicago. The Bulls score 106.7 ppg (22nd in the NBA). The James Harden-Russell Westbrook partnership seems to be settling in (Harden's averaging 36.5 ppg, Westbrook 20.7) and the Rockets are 4-1 ATS in their past five against the Bulls. 

Pat's record on NBA's locks, pinch-hitting for Darren: 2-0 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device