The San Antonio Spurs (4-2) are in the midst of a rare losing skid after they went down 97-94 to the Indiana Pacers last night. The Spurs’ frontcourt of LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol carried the team offensively with 43 points and 15 rebounds combined, but they didn’t get much support from the rest of the team. Aldridge has continued his strong start to the season, averaging 25 points and nine rebounds per game.
Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics (4-2) are currently riding a four-game winning streak after cooling off the Miami Heat on the road, 96-90. Kyrie Irving led the way with 24 points, while rookie Jayson Tatum had his second 20-point performance of the year. Irving is still not shooting the ball particularly well, but he’s now put up back-to-back 24-point games.
Three keys to the game
San Antonio to start resting? The Spurs will be playing their third game in four nights – all on the road – and a prime-time game with the Golden State Warriors is looming. This game against the Celtics could potentially be the chance for Gregg Popovich to start resting players like Aldridge.
Celtics defense – Boston’s defense has been outstanding to start the year. They limited the Heat to just 90 points, and have not allowed more than 92 points during their current winning streak. The Spurs will easily be their toughest test to date, though, but they will have the advantage of being a bit more rested.
Supporting casts – Even if the Spurs start to rest some of their players, the players on the end of their bench can still produce. However, they haven’t quite been able to do so lately. The Celtics have been similarly getting quality contributions up and down their roster, and they’ll need another team effort to handle the Spurs at home.
Matchup to watch
LaMarcus Aldridge vs Al Horford – Aldridge has been one of the hottest players in the league to start this season, consistently putting up 20-point games in Kawhi Leonard’s continued absence. But he’ll be up against an elite defender in Al Horford, who has the ability to slow him down. If Horford succeeds shutting down the Spurs’ main offensive option, the Celtics’ chances of winning get that bit higher.
Spurs projected starting lineup
PG – Dejounte Murray | SG – Danny Green | SF – Kyle Anderson | PF – LaMarcus Aldridge | C – Pau Gasol
Celtics projected starting lineup
PG – Kyrie Irving | SG – Jaylen Brown | SF – Jayson Tatum | PF – Al Horford | C – Aron Baynes
The Spurs have been burned in back-to-back games by opposing wings, so this could be a good opportunity for Jaylen Brown and/or Jayson Tatum to put together another impressive outing. Tatum, in particular, has been the more reliable of the two and is averaging strong numbers with 15 points and six rebounds per game.
As tough as it might be to bet on the Spurs to drop a third game in a row, the Celtics are playing the better basketball at the moment. That they’ll be fresh and at home against a Spurs team on their third game in four nights is also another compelling reason to take them to get the home win.
The Celtics stretch their win streak to five as they beat the Spurs, 106-101.
This game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Boston, Fox Sports Southwest, as well as NBA TV. Tip-off at TD Garden is at 7:30 pm ET.
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