San Antonio Spurs at Boston Celtics Preview
After scoring a huge win over the top team in the NBA and the Eastern Conference leader, the San Antonio Spurs are now on the road to take on another Eastern Conference power in the Boston Celtics. Kemba Walker is expected to be back in action.
After toppling the Bucks on Monday night, the Spurs are currently 15-20 and eighth in the Western Conference. They are hoping to start a winning streak tonight. They are 5-5 in their last 10 games and 4-11 on the road this season. The Celtics are second in the East with a 25-9 record. They lost their most recent game, but they are 8-2 in their last 10 games. Boston has one of the better home records in the league at 14-2 at TD Garden.
The Spurs and Celtics last played on November 9, with the Celtics winning by 135-115 blowout. Jaylen Brown had 30 points and seven rebounds in the win, while the Spurs were led by DeMar DeRozan’s 22 points.
Time: 7 PM ET
Arena: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Channel: FSSW-SA, NBCSB
Spurs: No injuries
Celtics: Romeo Langford, Robert Williams III (O), Daniel Theis (Q)
San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup
The Spurs seemed to be within striking range in their Saturday night loss in Milwaukee to the Bucks, so they were prepared when the Bucks came to San Antonio on Monday night. They blew out the Bucks, who have the league’s best record, giving them their sixth loss of the season 126-104.
“It’s big, confidence-building,” Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan told said. “Letting us know we could compete with the best teams in this league.”
One of the reasons the Spurs were able to find success against the Bucks was that they were able to convert on three-point attempts. Much of the credit for that is due to LaMarcus Aldridge, who has been taking more threes over the last eight games and having a much better percentage from deep.
“With LaMarcus joining us on the 3-point line and having the ability to knock them down, it does wonders in terms of spacing,” said Patty Mills, who knocked down six three-pointers in the game.
The Spurs also played solid defense on Giannis Antetokounmpo, defending him with Aldridge. The Spurs choose to give Giannis space on the perimeter to allow him to shoot open threes, but as soon as he tried to drive, Aldridge defended him closely and the Spurs ran other defenders at him to force him to chuck mid-range shots, which are certainly not in his comfort level or pass out. On Monday night, when he did pass out, shooters didn’t hit their shots and Giannis was unable to get to the free-throw line as often as he had on Saturday.
They’ll have to bring that same level of defense with the Celtics having several capable scorers.
Boston Celtics Starting Lineup
Tonight’s game is the first game of a back-to-back for the Celtics, who have the 76ers on their schedule tomorrow.
The Celtics lost on Monday night 99-94 to the Washington Wizards. Kemba Walker’s absence has certainly been felt, but he’ll be back in action tonight.
“We came out slow today, but it’s a long game,” Jaylen Brown said after the loss. “We got to be able to pick it up and have each other’s back in certain aspects and find ways to win. Today was a winnable game despite the slow start, and we dropped the ball.”
The Celtics just scoring 17 points in the first quarter certainly didn’t help matters, and allowing Ish Smith and Jordan McRae to score 27 and 19 points apiece also didn’t help. The Celtics may have looked beyond the Wizards, who were without Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans, but McRae and Smith have been surprising more than a few teams.
Brown led the Celtics with 23 points and 12 rebounds, Jayson Tatum added 17 points, and Gordon Hayward had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Key Player Matchups
Gordon Hayward vs. DeMar DeRozan
Hayward is a capable scorer, but he is matched up with the Spurs’ leading scorer tonight, who has played very well lately. Hayward is averaging 16.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game whereas DeRozan is averaging 21.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 4.9 assists.
Kemba Walker vs. Dejounte Murray
Walker is back tonight and the Celtics could certainly use him. Walker has played well for Boston this season and while Murray isn’t quite yet on the same level yet, Murray excels on defense, so he’ll likely be looking forward to this matchup. He seems to have done better with higher-level defensive assignments, including the likes of James Harden.
DeMar DeRozan and Kemba Walker are fantasy standouts for tonight’s game. DeRozan is available for just $6.8k on FanDuel and is projected for 36.7 points. Walker has a salary of $8.1k and is projected to finish with 38.3 points.
Dejounte Murray is a nice value option at $5.4k. He has a projection of 21.3 points, but he’s coming off a nice game against Milwaukee. If he plays, Daniel Theis should be well worth his $4.4k salary as he’s projected for 27.8 fantasy points.
Bet on Matchup
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