By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
Wednesday night was, in some ways, a second season debut for the Celtics. The game marked the first time Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker were all in the lineup and on the floor together.
However, even with their top three players all in uniform, the Celtics struggled at times, namely in the second quarter. Those struggles led to a 110-106 loss, dropping Boston to a 10-7 record on the season, 5-5 on the road.
Despite having their big three together for the first time this season, the Celtics came out with a relatively balanced attack to start. Six different players accounted for the C’s first seven made shots of the game. That balance continued for the rest of the quarter, with no Celtic scoring more than seven points despite a 30-25 Boston lead.
Kemba steals it, Kemba scores it pic.twitter.com/CBFvXf7YYr— Boston Celtics (@celtics) January 28, 2021
While none of the Celtics were able to emerge in the second quarter, LaMarcus Aldrige started to heat up. He led San Antonio on 10-0 and 27-6 runs, and took the Spurs lead with three minutes to play until halftime. Aldridge led all scorers with 14 points in the first half, and the C’s went into the locker room down 61-47.
The Celtics started making their move back into the game late in the third quarter. Led by Tatum, who struggled with turnovers in the first half, Boston put together a 18-3 run. A three pointer by Walker at the one minute mark gave the Celtics back the lead, which they’d hold heading into the fourth, 84-82.
It wasn’t long until the Spurs grabbed the lead back, with a 9-2 run putting them up 91-86 and forcing a Brad Stevens timeout. The Celtics tied things up at 99 with a Walker three with three minutes to play, and took the lead on a Tristan Thompson layup a minute later, with San Antonio tying the game again with 1:30 left.
Each team added two more points – via Demar DeRozan free throws and a Daniel Theis dunk – for another tie with just over 30 seconds left. On the ensuing possession, DeRozan hit a pull-up jumper with 27 seconds left to give his Spurs a 105-103 lead.
Holding for a late shot, Kemba Walker got stripped leading to a fast break San Antonio score to put them up four. Tatum then drove for an and-one to bring the Celtics back within a point. However, the Spurs hit both of their free throws on the other end, and a final Marcus Smart three came up short.
Tatum scored a game-high 25 points on 11-of-25 shooting, as he continues to work back into rhythm after missing two weeks due to COVID-19. He also added seven rebounds and four steals in a well rounded effort. Brown was right behind him with 24 points, one shy of extending his 25-plus point streak to six games.
Walker and Smart were the only two other Celtics in double figures, with each scoring 14 points. Thompson came up just short of a double-double with eight points and eight rebounds.
The Celtics now get a couple of days off before returning to TD Garden to host the Los Angeles Lakers Saturday night. That game is scheduled for 8:30 p.m., with pregame coverage beginning at 8:00 on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.