The San Antonio Spurs fell to 7-33 on the season after losing to the Boston Celtics by a final score of 117-98. The Celtics, 32-9, have the best record in the NBA.
Boston grabbed the lead in the middle of the first quarter — and then never trailed again. San Antonio attempted a couple half-hearted runs but they never truly challenged.
All in all, the good guys can’t be too happy with how they played against the Celtics. They didn’t get totally demolished but they didn’t do enough right to be especially proud of their play.
Stats: Spurs at Celtics
Spurs at Celtics – Final Grades
You know Wembanyama is having a good rookie season when scoring 27 points in 27 minutes is met with a yawn. The rookie had some wow moments and looked extra smooth scoring the ball — but this wasn’t really a notable outing for him. Wembanyama’s defense was below average; his rotations weren’t emphatic enough and he was underwhelming on the boards. His playmaking was minimal and he tallied five turnovers. Wembanyama’s scoring still added a lot of value but he can play a much more well-rounded brand of basketball than we saw versus Boston.
For a while, it appeared as if Vassell’s slump would extend to another game. He didn’t hit a field goal in the first quarter and looked painfully passive. Eventually, though, Vassell got going. He attacked the basket with vigor and got to the free throw line to scratch and claw his way to a relatively efficient 21 points. Vassell also passed the ball smartly while limiting his mistakes. Unfortunately, he was 0-for-5 from three-point land and is now 1-for-18 from beyond the arc in his last three games. Vassell won’t truly be out of his slump until he can start knocking down threes again.
The good: Sochan had some really impressive defensive possessions. He was responsible for three of the team’s five steals and did good work on the boards. Offensively, he didn’t turn the ball over even though he handled a decent amount of the playmaking. The bad: Sochan really struggled to put the ball in the basket. Defensively, while he had some notable possessions, there were more possessions where he looked completely incapable of slowing down Boston’s stars.
Jones has looked more confident since the recent game in which he hit four three-pointers. Against the Celtics, he was firing away from deep … but hit only 1-of-5. Boston never really paid attention to Jones’ jumper and he couldn’t do anything to change that. The good news is that he passed the ball so well that he was still an asset of offense. Jones was making right decision after right decision when the ball was in his hands. Defensively, his hustle helped the cause at times but he didn’t move the needle in a noteworthy manner on that end.
It was good sign that Champagnie was able to find ways to score against a quality defensive ballclub like the Celtics. By running the court and moving well in transition, he avoided subsisting solely on difficult three-point looks. Champagnie also rebounded well and put in effort defensively. His impact on D was minimal, though.
Johnson rarely gets buried in the shuffle but that’s exactly what happened versus the Celtics. His defense was sub par, as he lost his man on multiple occasions. His offense was a whisper. Johnson can’t simply blend into the background, especially when he’s coming off the bench.
Barlow was okay-ish. He had moments on defense but mostly looked overwhelmed. Offensively, Barlow looked a little better and his decision-making was fine. Knocking down a second three-pointer of the season was intriguing. If he can prove to have legitimate three-point range, Barlow would absolutely be a keeper going forward.
The good: Branham got some tough buckets when the Spurs were finding it difficult to crack Boston’s defense. He didn’t turn the ball over even though he ran point guard for a few stretches. The bad: Branham’s defense was poor — even for him. His playmaking was minimal. He missed three more three-pointers to drop his percentage on the season to right around 30%.
McDermott had a two-handed dunk in transition — but that ended up being the extent of his contributions. He struggled to find space to fire away from deep. His movement without the ball on offense and when defending the ball on defense appears to be a step slow right now.
Like he often does, Osman gave the Spurs a jolt of vivacity when he hit the court. He rebounded well, ran the court and gave premium effort on defense. That said, his tangible production wasn’t enough to say he had an especially successful outing.
Wesley played tough defense and made a couple heady passes. He didn’t score, however.
Graham missed a pair of three-pointers during garbage time.
It looks like Mamukelashvili is quite a bit behind Barlow now — mostly for defensive reasons.
Diakite played only five minutes but his stat line had a healthy amount of pencil markings.
Beating these Celtics on the road when your team shoots 7-for-34 from three-point range isn’t going to happen. That said, Pop could have done a better job of getting secondary players going — most notably Johnson. His rotation was decent but I was hoping for another extended look at Wesley.