Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
Officials: #20 Leroy Richardson, #21 Dedric Taylor, #15 Zach Zarba
Leonard scored 26 points, Gasol added 17 points and 13 rebounds and Parker had eight points in a two-and-a-half-minute stretch of the fourth quarter to help San Antonio withstand the Celtics’ comeback attempt.
The Spurs led 100-85 with 4:31 to play but had to hold on as Boston forged a 10-2 run that cut the San Antonio advantage to 102-95. Leonard hit two free throws and a jumper to cement the win for the Spurs.
“This was a really good win for us because Boston executed better than most everybody in this league,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “Our ball movement was a little more aggressive tonight and we communicated well defensively. This was one of our better games on the defensive end of the court.”
Boston at San Antonio
When: 9:30 PM ET, Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
SAN ANTONIO – (Wire Service Preview by Sports XChange for Digital Sports Desk) -The San Antonio Spurs seemed to let out some frustration in their most recent game and will try to maintain their edge when they host the Boston Celtics on Wednesday. After drawing the ire of coach Gregg Popovich for a lackluster effort in a loss at Chicago, the Spurs matched their best offensive effort since March 28, 2014 (133 points) with a 130-101 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday.
“We have so many professional guys and veteran guys, it shouldn’t take him to do that,” San Antonio guard Patty Mills said of Popovich’s criticism two days earlier. “But it definitely affected everyone to know that we’ve got to lace them up here and do what we do. No one messing around.” Kawhi Leonard scored 30 points in the win as the Spurs shot 53.2 percent from the field, 53.8 percent from 3-point range and 88.9 percent from the foul line. A San Antonio team clicking on all cylinders could spell trouble for the Celtics, who have lost 10 straight meetings between the teams and have missed star guard Isaiah Thomas (groin) for the last three contests. Boston has dropped three of its last four, including a tough 99-96 setback at Oklahoma City on Sunday.
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, CSN New England (Boston), FSN Southwest (San Antonio)
ABOUT THE CELTICS (13-11): Thomas said late last week that he was aiming to return for the game against San Antonio, but if he cannot go Wednesday it will yield another start for Marcus Smart. The third-year pro had 11 points, nine assists and six rebounds in the loss to the Thunder while continuing his pattern of playing better when in the starting lineup. Smart is shooting 40.7 percent from the floor and 34.3 percent from the arc as a starter – compared to 34.1 and 26.2 off the bench – and his assist-to-turnover ratio goes from 2.04 to 2.85 when he steps into the starting role.
ABOUT THE SPURS (19-5): Leonard is averaging 25.8 points while shooting 53.3 percent in five games this month and has just six turnovers in 166 total minutes during that stretch. Mills matched Leonard with four 3-pointers Saturday and he has made 10 over the last three games after missing all five of his long-range attempts (and all eight of his shots overall) in a one-point effort at Milwaukee on Dec. 5. The Australia native is averaging 15.7 points in only 22.3 minutes in the three-game surge.
1. Leonard had 25 points and 10 rebounds while Thomas finished with 24 points and eight assists in San Antonio’s 109-106 win at Boston last month.
2. Celtics F Jaylen Brown is averaging 10 points off the bench since Thomas went down after scoring a total of 13 points in his previous eight games.
3. The teams entered Tuesday’s play tied for sixth in the NBA in 3-point percentage defense (33.9).
Chicago 95, San Antonio 91
When: 9:30 PM ET, Thursday, December 8, 2016
Where: United Center, Chicago
CHICAGO – (Wire Service Report)- The San Antonio Spurs had no an answer for why they started 13-0 on the road, and also had no answer for the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night at the United Center. The Bulls (12-10) led start to finish in a 95-91 victory to end a three-game losing streak, handing the Spurs (18-5) their first road loss. San Antonio needed one more road win to tie the NBA record of 14 straight road victories to start a season, set by the Golden State Warriors last season.
“We needed a win,” said Bulls guard Dwyane Wade, who led Chicago in scoring with 19 points. “When you’re out there playing, you’re not thinking about how this team’s on a roll on the road. You’re just thinking about getting the win. That’s a very good team, of course, but tonight was about us finding a way to get a win here at home.”
Along with Wade, Rajon Rondo led the way for the Bulls by finishing an assist short of a triple-double (12 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists). Jimmy Butler, who’d scored at least 20 points in his previous 15 games, added 13 — all in the second half.
Taj Gibson and Robin Lopez each had 12 for the Bulls, who led by as much as 18 points in the third quarter and fended off strong San Antonio comeback attempt in the fourth.
Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs and all scorers with 24 points, Patty Mills added 16 points and Pau Gasol had a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds) in his return to Chicago after leaving via free agency in the offseason.
“Most of our games, we haven’t been coming out with the same edge as we have in the second half,” Gasol said. “Because of our talent and quality of play, we are able to make up ground. We’ve been able to end up winning most of them. Tonight we were down (18) and were able to make up some ground, but in the end it wasn’t enough.”
San Antonio, which went to the free-throw line just five times (4-for-5) battled back in the third by outscoring Chicago 16-7 in the final six minutes. The Spurs trailed 72-63 starting the fourth and were poised to pull off another comeback win.
Chicago, which hit 21-of-27 from the free-throw line, refused to let it happen.
Gasol hit a 3-pointer with 3:24 left in the fourth to cut Chicago’s lead to 88-84, but that was as close as the Spurs would get until Danny Green hit a meaningless 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left.
Wade, Rondo and Butler led the way in the fourth for the Bulls, who won for just the fourth time in their past 10 games.