Ford Keys to the Game: Spurs 112, Celtics 100
Rajon Rondo turned it into top gear in the fourth quarter in an attempt to lead the Celtics back from a big hole. Boston trailed by as many as 16 points in the final frame but Rondo’s 13th and 14th points of the quarter helped the C’s make it a six-point game with just more than three minutes left on the clock.
Rondo’s bucket pinged the nerves of Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. Popovich immediately called for a timeout knowing that the game was in the balance.
San Antonio’s head coach, who’s as sharp as they come, knew exactly where to go out of his timeout. Only two of his players touched the ball on the next possession and their names are Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. The manner in which they touched the ball, however, was a bit chaotic.
Parker drove to the basket down the left side of the lane while executing a wild spin move over his left shoulder. As he spun, he realized that he would not wind up with an open look at the basket. He quickly decided that his best decision was to toss a pass out to the right wing.
The problem with that decision was that no one in particular was standing on the right wing. But Duncan sprinted over to grab the ball before it went out of bounds. With Kevin Garnett defending him, Duncan took a few dribbles as he drove to his left and pulled up for a sweet jumper from the free-throw line. That basket put the Spurs on top by eight points with less than three minutes left in the game.
There was plenty of time remaining for the C’s to make a run but that basket really crushed their momentum. Had Boston prevented a basket, they would have had an opportunity to make things really interesting with a score at the other end. Instead, they fell behind by eight points and never crawled closer than that for the remainder of the contest.
Key Box Score Line
We headed into tonight’s game with six potential future Hall-of-Famers set to compete against each other. None of them were named Tiago Splitter, but after tonight’s game, one of them might as well have been.
Splitter reaped the benefits of Boston’s poor defensive rotations by scoring 23 points off of the bench Wednesday night. He torched the C’s from the floor, making nine of his 11 field goal attempts. Eight of those baskets were either layups or dunks.
The C’s were much more focused on stopping guys like Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, and rightfully so. However, they forgot one big man from San Antonio who changed the game with his interior scoring.
Box Score Nuggets
- Rajon Rondo continued his double-digit assist streak with a game-high 15 assists. He also scored a team-high 22 points.
- The Celtics scored exactly 100 points.
- Tiago Splitter scored 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting off the bench.
- San Antonio committed 18 turnovers that led to 18 of Boston's points.
- The Spurs scored at least 26 points in all four quarters.
- Boston was outrebounded 41-25.
- Jared Sullinger led the C's with seven boards.
- San Antonio shot 58.4 percent from the field, 50 percent from 3-point range and 73.7 percent from the free-throw line.
- The Spurs scored 58 points in the paint.
- All five of Boston's starters scored in double-figures.
- Paul Pierce shot 6-for-6 from the free-throw line and Rondo shot 6-of-7.
- San Antonio scored 17 second-chance points on 7-of-7 shooting.
Quote of the Night
That's what everyone says when you lose: 'You've got to play harder.' Well, we've got to play smarter, we have to know our coverages better, and when that happens everybody is on the same page and it allows our rotations to be freer.
Doc Rivers on the notion that his team needs to play "harder."