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Celtics’ defense not enough in loss to Spurs

The Celtics when into Sunday’s game looking for a win against the San Antonio Spurs after losing their previous game against the Toronto Raptors. Head Coach Brad Steven decided to go with the same starting lineup as he had in the previous two games with Marcus Smart at point guard, Avery Bradley at shooting guard, Jae Crowder at small forward, David Lee at power forward, and Tyler Zeller at center.

The Celtics poor shooting performance against the Raptors seemed to continue against the Spurs as they were only able to convert on 35.7% of their field goals and fell 95-87 at the TD Garden.

The game started off very slowly as neither team was able to score until almost three minutes into the quarter when Avery Bradley hit the first shot of the game.  The Celtics quickly lost their lead to the Spurs and were unable to regain it for the rest of the game. The Spurs defense combined with the Celtics horrid offense allowing the Celtics to score only 13 points in the first quarter and as they led 23-13.

As the game went into the second quarter the Celtics shooting troubles continued as they kept missing open looks and high percentage shots. The Spurs continued to pull away as they allowed the Celtics to score only 18 points and finished the first half with a 44-31 lead.

The Celtics were able to outscore the Spurs 56-51 in the second half, but that wasn’t enough as they lost 95-87. The Celtics did have a few chances with 2:30 left in the fourth quarter as they pulled within 4 points of the Spurs, but failed to convert crucial shots that could have helped them win the game.

Despite the loss, the Celtics defense was able to keep them within reach of the Spurs. The Celtics never allowed the Spurs to lead by more than 15 points and most of the second half the lead was never grew to over 10 points. They held the Spurs to only 43.4% shooting from field and 26.3% from three.  The Celtics were also able to obtain 10 steals while forcing the Spurs to commit 18 turnovers in total.

On the offensive side of the ball, Avery Bradley had a team high of 18 points and Marcus Smart scored 17 points. Isaiah lead the team with five assists and both Amir Johnson and Jared Sullinger lead the team with eight rebounds each.

If the Celtics continue with their shooting troubles, Coach Stevens might have to consider giving rookies Terry Rozier and R.J. Hunter a few minutes off the bench to hopefully create a spark on offense. Rozier showed in the preseason that he can come off the bench and score as he accumulated 9.8 point per game in four games. R.J. Hunter was a known scorer at in college with 18.4 points per game over three seasons at Georgia State University.

The Celtics will be looking to bring their shooting troubles to a halt when they play the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

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