Celtics-Spurs review: Celtics worn down

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Celtics-Spurs review: Celtics worn down

SAN ANTONIO Aside from being on the short end of a 103-88 road loss to San Antonio, Doc Rivers liked a lot about Saturday's game.

But as the game wore on, it appeared as though the Celtics were simply worn down.

"I thought we played hard," Rivers said. "I honestly thought we got fatigued. So that's something ... we have to get in a little better shape because we want to play at that pace."

Rivers added, "it was a good pace; the game was a good pace. It was a fun game to watch. But the difference was I thought San Antonio was used to doing that and continued to do it throughout the game. They were able to sustain their play, and we couldn't. I thought that was the difference in the game."

It is disturbing to say the least that we're just barely past the first quarter mark of the season and the C's are already showing signs of being unable to sustain the necessary energy levels needed in order to play deep into the playoffs.

Even Kevin Garnett acknowledged that fatigue might have been a culprit in Saturday's loss - Boston's second straight in as many nights.

"Second half, you could see the fatigue come tired legs," said Garnett who quickly added that there are, "still no excuses. You step on the floor, you suit up. You have to perform."

Lately, the Celtics' performances haven't been good enough to do the only thing that truly matters to this franchise - win games and lots of them.

Here's how some of the keys identified prior to tonight's game actually played out as the Celtics will have three days to regroup before they return to the floor with the goal being to get another winning streak started on the road at Chicago on Tuesday.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Rajon Rondo had a near triple-double of points (15), assists (13) and sadly, turnovers (seven) in the Rockets loss. Look for him to do a much better job in terms of limiting his miscues despite San Antonio's better-than-average defense.

WHAT WE SAW: Sadly, Rondo had another seven-turnover performance which was among the many problems that plagued Boston on Saturday night. It was quite a different story for his counterpart on San Antonio's roster, Tony Parker, who easily won this individual matchup with a game-high 22 points and eight assists; and of course the game as well.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Kevin Garnett vs Tim Duncan. Two of the greatest big men of this generation, every opportunity to see these two champions duel it out in the twilight of their careers should be cherished.

WHAT WE SAW: Saturday's duel won't go down as one of their best, but each did their part to keep their respective teams in the game. Garnett had 13 points on 6-for-13 shooting while Duncan grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Do not be surprised if Paul Pierce has one of those statement-type performances. He had 18 points against Houston, but did so shooting 5-for-18 from the field. Knowing the Houston loss was a step back in the team's develop and growth this season, look for the Captain to try and get the C's back on track.

WHAT WE SAW: The Captain had a solid all-around game (18 points on 7-for-13 shooting, five rebounds, four assists and three steals), but it wasn't nearly enough for the C's to get a road win over San Antonio - always a challenge.

STAT TO TRACK: The Spurs have evolved into an offensive power, averaging 104.8 points per game which ranks second in the NBA. Keeping them under 100 points scored is the key to beating them, evident by four of their six losses this season coming when they fail to reach triple digits scoring.
WHAT WE SAW: San Antonio cracked the 100-point plateau with a steady game offensively by scoring 25 or 26 points in every quarter of play that proved to be too much for the Celtics to contend with on Saturday night.

Game notes: Celtics look to extend Kings’ Boston losing streak to nine

Game notes: Celtics look to extend Kings’ Boston losing streak to nine

BOSTON – Here are a few odds and ends to keep an eye on heading into tonight’s game against the Sacramento Kings: 
 
· The Celtics have won eight in a row over the Kings in Boston, with the last loss to Sacramento at the TD Garden coming on Jan. 19, 2007. Current Celtic Gerald Green was in the starting lineup that night. 

· Only six times in franchise history have the Celtics launched 38 or more 3-pointers in a game, four of which came in the month of November this season. 

· Speaking of 3-pointers, 36.2 percent of Boston’s shots are 3s. That ranks fifth in the league behind Houston, Cleveland, Brooklyn and Golden State.

· Don’t be surprised if Avery Bradley gets off to a good start tonight, especially from 3-point range. He’s shooting 59.1 percent on 3s in the first quarter which ranks second in the league. 

· Isaiah Thomas tallied 395 points scored in November, the most by a Celtic since John Havlicek had 406 points in November during the 1971-1972 season. 

· Boston leads the NBA in points scored (46.3 per game) by second-round picks. The Celtics’ second-round picks include Isaiah Thomas; Jae Crowder; Amir Johnson; Jonas Jerebko; Demetrius Jackson and Jordan Mickey.

· The Celtics are 5-0 this season when they outrebound an opponent. 

· Tonight’s game will be Boston’s fifth set of back-to-back games this season. In the first game, they are 3-1 this season. On the second night, they are 2-2.

Beyond the numbers: Kings offense will test Celtics defense

Beyond the numbers: Kings offense will test Celtics defense

BOSTON – When it comes to defense, the Celtics are quick to claim that it is indeed the foundation for which their team is built upon. 
 
Still, far too often this season, we have seen cracks in their usually Teflon-tough defense, the kind that ultimately means the difference between winning and losing.
 
The Celtics’ defense will once again need to step up and play well tonight against a Sacramento squad that has shown it can fill it up offensively of late. 
 
Sacramento (7-11) has scored 100 or more points in eight of their past 10 games. In that span, their 107.2 points per game ranks ninth in the league. 
 
In that same span, the Celtics have allowed opponents to score 100.3 points per game, which ranks 10th in the NBA in fewest points allowed.
 
And when it comes to winning, limiting teams to less than 100 points has been huge in Boston’s win total. 
 
The Celtics have held eight opponents to 100 points or less this season. 
 
Their record in those games? 8-0.
 
Within that limited scoring, Boston must also make sure teams don’t get into a nice groove shooting the ball. 
 
Boston is 0-5 this season when an opponent shoots 48 percent or better from the field. 
 
While there are several things Boston must do to be successful, having the right kind of defensive disposition ranks at or near the top of that list in their efforts to play with the kind of defensive success that gave so many hope that this would the year Boston would hold court among the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

“We have to get a little more nastier on the defensive end and not let a team come in and get comfortable,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder.