Spurs storm back in third quarter, hold off Celtics 120-111

Dec 31, 2018; San Antonio, TX: San Antonio Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge shoots the ball as Boston Celtics power forward Marcus Morris (left) and Jayson Tatum (right) look on during the second half at AT&T Center. (Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports)
San Antonio Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge shoots as the Boston Celtics' Marcus Morris (left) and Jayson Tatum (right) look on. (Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports)

A third-quarter surge propelled the San Antonio Spurs to a 120-111 New Year's Eve win over the Boston Celtics on Monday night. LaMarcus Aldridge led all scorers with 32 points (13-for-23 shooting) to go with nine rebounds and five assists.

The Spurs got off to an awful start shooting, with a 6-for-27 (22.2 percent) first quarter. The Celtics didn't fare much better, shooting only 8-for-24 (33.3 percent) themselves. But it was enough for the C's to enter the second quarter with a 23-17 lead. Jaylen Brown really heated up in the second, racking up 11 points on 5-for-6 shooting in the frame. He ended up with 30 points in 31 minutes off the bench.

San Antonio drastically improved its shooting in the second quarter, though, going 10-for-21 (47.6 percent) from the field as a team. Brown's hot streak was enough to keep the Celtics' lead at six as they hit halftime up 52-46.

Dec 31, 2018; San Antonio, TX: Boston Celtics shooting guard Jaylen Brown dunks the ball against the San Antonio Spurs during the first half at AT&T Center. (Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports)
Jaylen Brown dunks the ball against the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. (Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports)

Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to keep the Spurs at bay in the second half. After an Al Horford jumper made it 54-46 Celtics, the Spurs outscored them 74-57 for the rest of the game.

San Antonio took its first lead of the night with 8:52 left in the third quarter after DeMar DeRozan drove around Jayson Tatum and buried the layup. He knocked down the extra free throw to make it 70-67 San Antonio, and they never looked back.

Per NBC Sports Boston, San Antonio's 46 points in the third quarter were the most the Celtics have allowed in any quarter since 2000.

The Spurs combined Aldridge's low-to-mid-range production with domination from three-point range, shooting 53.8 percent (14-for-26) as a team compared to the Celtics' 11-for-34 (32.4 percent).

Gordon Hayward struggled for the Celtics in the loss, shooting 0-for-6 (including 0-for-5 from three-point range) for zero points in 22 minutes off the bench.

Up Next: The Celtics' first game of 2019 comes on Wednesday the 2nd, when they take on the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center.

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