Celtics continue to stumble in 112-100 loss to Spurs

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Celtics continue to stumble in 112-100 loss to Spurs

BOSTON NBA championships are not won or lost in the first month of the season, which is a good thing for the Boston Celtics.
Because where the C's are now isn't anywhere close to that of a title contender, a point driven home by the San Antonio Spurs who handed the C's a 112-100 loss on Wednesday.
Tony Parker led all scorers with 26 points to go with six rebounds. Tim Duncan had a solid night as well with 20 points and 15 rebounds.
Boston (6-6) has now lost three of its last four games, and are in serious jeopardy of falling below-.500 with the Oklahoma City Thunder invading the TD Garden on Friday.
Rajon Rondo led a Celtics' rally in the fourth quarter which trimmed San Antonio's 16 point lead down to as little as six points. But the Spurs, as they had done all night, responded with a surge of their own to leave no doubt as to who the better team was on this night.
Rondo finished with a team-high 22 points along with 15 assists. The 15 assists extends his franchise record for double-digit assist games to 35 which is the third-longest such streak in NBA history.
The Celtics' problems began in the first quarter, and they were essentially a carbon copy of what has plagued them throughout this season -- poor rebounding and too many easy baskets given up.
Boston was especially bad on the offensive board where they only grabbed a single offensive rebound.
Not one.
Despite those issues, the C's held their own for most of the first half. But the offensive lulls this team tends to go through, creeped up at the worst time - at the end of quarters.
And that kept the Celtics in perpetual catch-up mode.
In the first, Boston led 25-20 with 2:36 to play. San Antonio closed out the quarter with a 10-2 run to lead, 30-27.
It was more of the same in the second quarter.
After a 16-foot, step-back jumper by Paul Pierce tied the game at 42, the Spurs finished the half with a 14-6 spurt to lead by eight.
San Antonio spent the entire third quarter with the lead, but the Celtics had their chances.
Trailing by two points with the ball, Courtney Lee was called for traveling. On the ensuing Spurs possession, Danny Green hit a 3-pointer.
It was that kind of game for the Celtics who continued to get close, but failed to get that one big stop or knock down that one big shot to take over control of the game.
Meanwhile, the Spurs seemed to ratchet up their play at both ends of the floor whenever they needed to, which was a big part of their 82-74 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Morning Skate: Asking price on Shattenkirk should scare off Bruins

Morning Skate: Asking price on Shattenkirk should scare off Bruins

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading after watching the Boston Celtics take a hard pass on the Boogie. 
 
-- Bob McKenzie sits in with the good folks at TSN 1200 Ottawa sports radio and talks a little Claude Julien of the Montreal Canadiens

-- The Avalanche youth movement is set to begin as quickly as March 1, as Colorado may move some of its veteran players at the trade deadline. 
 
-- Ryan Johansen got snubbed in his return to Columbus for the first time as a member of the Nashville Predators. That’s too bad, but it’s also not exactly Wayne Gretzky returning to the Edmonton Oilers for the first time. 
 
-- The price tag for Kevin Shattenkirk is in and it includes a top prospect and a first-round pick, along with another piece, for a rental defenseman. That should be far too rich for the Bruins’ blood. The B's were already intent on avoiding the rental market ahead of the trade deadline, and the steep price -- even for a potentially useful short-term acquisition like the puck-moving Shattenkirk -- should make that even more of a certainty. 
 
-- Ken Campbell asks whether hockey agents have gone too far in chasing after prospective prospects before they even enter their teenage years. 

 -- Bobby Ryan has a hand injury that’s going to sideline him, another piece of bad luck for the Senators forward. 
 
-- For something completely different: On President’s Day, it seems only natural to go through the favorite Presidents in the history of the Marvel Universe.

Curran: Jets' 2015 tampering with Revis more extensive than NFL revealed

Curran: Jets' 2015 tampering with Revis more extensive than NFL revealed

The Patriots obviously got it right when they pushed away from the table during the Darrelle Revis bidding war in 2015. 

The once-great corner spent the 2016 season languishing on the field. He’s spending the early part of the offseason reacting negatively to backpack journalism after midnight. 

MORE PATRIOTS

But the alleged double KO by Revis and his buddies isn’t what prompts this submission. 

It’s the revelation from Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News that the tampering the Jets engaged in when they were prying Revis loose from the Patriots was way, way more involved than what the NFL fined them for. And that Jets owner Woody Johnson knew all about it. 

Mehta leads his piece revealing that, long before free agency opened in 2015, Revis “was ready to squeeze more money out of [Johnson] who he knew would be willing to overpay for his services again.”

Mehta reports that, “back-channel discussions with the Jets in February set the foundation for a Revis reunion . . . 

“Team officials in stealth mode communicated with Revis, Inc., through private cell phones and face-to-face covert meetings at the 2015 Scouting Combine rather than make calls from the team's landlines at their Florham Park facility. No paper trails were a must.

“Johnson, the driving force behind bringing back Revis to right a wrong in his mind, endorsed all of it.”

The Patriots -- who were in the midst of the Deflategate colonoscopy that resulted in absurd-level discipline -- lodged a complaint with the league over the Jets tampering after Revis signed with the Jets in mid-March of 2015. 

The Jets were fined $100,000 but weren’t docked any draft picks.. The tender wrist slap came, ostensibly, because Johnson moronically stated at a December press conference that he’d “love” to have Revis return to New York. 

Maybe Johnson wasn’t being a dummy. That comment provided cover for the league office -- which has a documented history of treating the two NYC franchises with kid gloves -- to let the Jets off easy. 

Mehta’s article is the latest offering from him since completing his heel turn against Revis. 

Mehta did everything but fly the plane to bring Revis to New York once the 2014 season ended. And this is what he wrote the day the Jets penalty came down: 

The NFL’s attempt to uncover any dirt was an exercise in futility, a witch hunt driven by nonsense from a hypocritical organization with no reason to feel threatened by its competitor. 

You may wonder what’s the point? 

Clearly, the Patriots got it right while the Jets cheated, got what they wanted, and are now getting what they deserved. 

And everyone already knows the league office’s investigations and operations arms under the brutally incompetent leadership of Troy Vincent are a laughingstock. 

All true. But if I don’t write this now, I may have no recollection of this particular instance of league corruption given the absolute avalanche of other incidents