Spurs (4-2) vs. Boston Celtics (4-2)
When, where: 6:30 p.m., Monday, Boston
Season series: First meeting
Last meeting: Spurs 108, Celtics 101, Dec. 14, 2016, AT&T Center
Spurs’ last game: Lost to Pacers 97-94, Sunday, Indianapolis
Celtics’ last game: Beat Heat 96-90, Saturday, Miami
Notable: The Spurs haven’t lost in Boston since Jan. 5, 2011, and have won the last 11 games in the series.
The Celtics are one of the NBA’s up-and-coming teams, but a stop in Boston may be just the tonic the Spurs need after dropping back-to-back games the past three days.
After starting the season 4-0 without All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard and veteran point guard Tony Parker, the Silver and Black lost road games to Orlando on Friday night and Indiana on Sunday afternoon.
San Antonio ends its four-game road trip Monday night in Boston, where it hasn’t lost since Jan. 5, 2011. Moreover, the Spurs have won the last 11 meetings in the series. Monday night’s game will cap the first back-to-back of the season for San Antonio.
This is a different Celtics team than the one the Silver and Black beat 109-103 last Nov. 25 in Boston, and 108-101 on Dec. 14 at the AT&T Center.
The Celtics sent Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder to Cleveland in a blockbuster trade for All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving in August, and also traded Avery Bradley to Detroit for Marcus Morris. Thomas averaged a team-leading 28.9 points and 5.9 assists last season. Bradley was the No. 2 scorer and rebounder (16.3/6.1). Crowder averaged 13.9 points and 5.8 rebounds.
Irving has averaged 21.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.3 steals in six games for the Celtics this season. Boston has won four in a row after starting the season 0-2.
The Spurs are coming off a 97-94 loss to the Pacers, who won the game on a step-back 3-pointer by Victor Oladipo with 10 seconds left. His basket put Indiana on top 95-94. Marcus Aldridge missed a 19-footer with five seconds left, and former Spur Cory Joseph hit two free throws after getting fouled while grabbing the rebound.Patty Mills’ 3-pointer was way off the mark as time ran out.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich had no qualms about Aldridge’s defense against Oladipo on the game-winning shot.
“It was well contested,” he said. “He (Oladipo) was deep and he was off balance. But give him credit. He knocked it down. It was well contested and it doesn’t bother me at all.”
The Silver and Black started the fourth quarter with an 18-5 run that put them up 82-73 with 6:44 remaining, but the Pacers stormed back with a 16-3 blitz to go up 89-85 with 3:06 left.
“They just played well together,” Spurs forward Rudy Gay said. “Oladipo had some tough shots.”
Aldridge had another stellar game, finishing with 26 points and eight rebounds. Pau Gasol had 17 points, seven rebounds, five assists and five blocks.
Danny Green, who finished with 10 points, hit five straight to give the Spurs a 94-92 lead with 1:02 left. Gasol rebounded a missed 3-pointer by Darren Collison on the Pacers’ next possession, but Green turned the ball over with 30 seconds remaining. That left the door open for Oladipo.
“We had great looks,” Gasol said of the Spurs’ last two shots. “Marcus had a great look. He took it and it didn’t go in. Patty had a pretty good look, I think. I didn’t see the replay. But I thought it was a good look.”
Up next for the Spurs after Monday’s game: vs. Golden State, Thursday, 7 p.m., AT&T Center