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The Boston Celtics fell to the San Antonio Spurs in a tug-of-war match, 105-102. It was a battle of brilliant minds throughout the contest. Brad Stevens' and Gregg Popovich's teams continuously matched each other from possession to possession, all the way into the final seconds of the game.
It was Kyrie Irving's last game with the the clear mask that he's been rocking for the past month. He's never been a fan of the facially accessory, and has been cursing it since he broke a bone in his face in early November. His stats, however, haven't faltered, and the team hasn't been hindered either. They went 10-3 when the mask made an appearance.

Jaylen Brown returned to the lineup after missing their last match versus the Dallas Mavericks because of a non-basketball related eye injury. He joined Kyrie in the facial-wear department by wearing some Kareem Abdul-Jabbar-esque goggles.
And for the 26th straight game, Kawhi Leonard didn't suit up for the Spurs. He injured his quad during the preseason, and hasn't stepped on the court since. Fortunately, he's almost fully recovered, and is aiming to play in his first game of the season next week. 
The Cs came out strong by hitting five of their first seven shots, and taking an early 11-0 lead. The entire team contributed to the run. They shot 59% in the first quarter, with Kyrie  leading the way with 17 points. The Spurs, on the other hand, missed their first eight field goal attempts, and didn't score a point until four minutes had passed in the first. The quarter ended with the Cs up five, 31-26
The second quarter didn't go as smoothly. Irving spent most of the period on the pine, and the Celtics shot 30% from the field. They would have taken the lead into the half, but were thwarted by long-time Spur and consistently consistent Manu Ginobili, who drained this beauty at the buzzer.

The Cs would go into the half down by one. The score was 56-55.

The Goggled One would lead the charge in the third quarter. Jaylen Brown scored 10 of his 15 points in the third, and got his buddies on the bench all riled up when he pounded this one into the hardwood. It was a loud dunk, that was heard for miles around. He'd finish with 15/5/2.

And apparently, he did it with his eyes closed!
The Celtics left the third quarter with a five point lead, 82-77.

The fourth quarter was truly one for the ages. The teams swapped leads throughout the final twelve minutes, with both squads' stars putting up the majority of the points. LaMarcus Aldridge continually posted-up the Cs' big men, and finished the game with 27 points and 10 rebounds. For Boston, it was Kyrie Irving, who collected 36 points on 13-of-21 shooting. 

With the game tied at 102-102, the Spurs had possession of the ball with under 15 seconds to play. Manu Ginobili let the seconds wind down, and when the shot clock began to near expiration, he made a move, lost Jayson Tatum at the top of the key, and buried a rainbow floater over Al Horford's fingertips. The ball went so high into the air, that it disappeared off of the TV screen before it plummeted down into the basket. Manu left the Cs with five seconds to formulate a play.

Brad Stevens set something up that left Kyrie wide open in the corner. He couldn't have had a better look with the amount of time was afforded to the Celtics. Kyrie pump faked, got his guy in the air, and fired a shot that rattled in and out of the rim. The Spurs would take the game with a final score of 105-102, making it the Celtics' fifth loss of the season.

Kyrie on the shot:
Some more numbers to notice:

Jayson Tatum: 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, 0 turnovers. Hit a clutch three pointer that put the Celtics up one with under three minutes to go.
Terry Rozier:  13 points on 5-of-11 shooting, 4 rebounds, 1 assist. Big in the second quarter.

Al Horford and Marcus Smart both struggled in the game. Neither made a wrinkle of an impact throughout. Marcus would finish with four points, one rebound, two assists, and three turnovers, and fouled out with 2:52 remaining in the game. Horford finished with 2 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists. He was clearly out-matched by LMA, especially in the game's final minutes.

Manu Ginobili: 11 points, 4 rebounds 3 assists. Getting some high praise from Brad.

Pau Gasol: 14/11
Tony Parker: 11/5/4
Rudy Gay: 15/8/2

The Celtics' second game of the three game road trip will be in Detroit, where they'll take on the Pistons in a matinee event. The last time the two teams met, the Celtics lost 118-108.

Such a depressing article. The Cs' fifth 'loss blog' of the season. Sigh.

There is one positive to take away from tonight: the Cleveland Cavaliers lost too. Celts are still 3.5 games ahead of them.

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Photo: AP, Michael Dwyer

Odie Waukewan 12/09/2017 12:27:00 AM Edit
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