SAN ANTONIO – A third-quarter scoring surge lifted the San Antonio Spurs to a 120-111 win over the Boston Celtics (21-15) at the AT&T Center to close out 2018.

The victory was the second straight and the tenth in the last 13 games for San Antonio, who completed three games in four nights stretch.

The Spurs blew the game open in the third quarter as they outscored Boston 46-30, making it their highest-scoring quarter since 1993. San Antonio went on a 23-3 run to take a 15 point lead on the fifth best defense in the NBA.

“They’ve come out in third quarters pretty aggressively defensively,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said. “That allows us to have some pace and run a little bit. I think our defense fueling a lot of what we do on offense.”

Here is what went good and bad for the Spurs, as well as three standout players: LaMarcus Aldridge, Derrick White, and Davis Bertans.

The Good:
  • Despite struggling to shoot the ball early, the Spurs stuck with it and put up a 46-point third quarter to pull away from the Celtics.
  • San Antonio got the three-ball going, finishing the game 14-for-26 from beyond the arc.
  • Defensively, San Antonio did a solid job on Kyrie Irving, holding him to 16 points and 1-for-5 from three-point range.
  • Gordon Hayward went scoreless on the night, finishing 0-for-6 from the floor.
  • DeMar DeRozan did not have the best shooting night but he contributed with 11 assists and 13 points on the night.
  • Oh, and it should be noted the Spurs did all this without Rudy Gay, who missed the game with a sore wrist.
The Bad:
  • Jaylen Brown had a great night off the bench for Boston, including hitting big three-pointers to cut into the Spurs lead.
Three Standout Players:

LaMarcus Aldridge:

The Spurs forward started the game out slow and literally could not get the ball to drop, going 0-for-6 in the first minutes of the first quarter. Eventually, he got into form and that was bad news for the Celtics.

Aldridge finished with 32 points on 13-for-23 shooting to go along with nine rebounds and five assists. The All-Star forward got aggressive as he backed down Marcus Morris and Al Horford for shots in the paint and when he was doubled, he found guys for open shots.

“I started slow and knew I was rushing it a bit,” Aldridge said. “I slowed it down a bit, took my time. Once I saw a few go in, I was good to go.”

Project Spurs illustration

Derrick White:

For those who don’t know Derrick White’s name, he is making sure people start remembering who he is and what he can do.

White poured in a career-high 22 points on 8-for-9 shooting. He added three assists and two blocks. He attacked the rim, found players for open shots, and even hit both of his attempts from three-point land.

“Derrick is getting more comfortable every game,” Aldridge said of his teammate. “He is showing why we believe in him. I told him since day one that we’re going to need him to go where we want to go and he has been taking on that challenge.”

Project Spurs illustration/Associated Press

Davis Bertans:

The sharpshooter came off the bench and made big buckets in the third quarter to help the Spurs pull away and take a lead they would not give up again.

Bertans finished with 17 points on 50 percent shooting from the floor and went 5-for-8 (62.5 percent) from three-point range. He added five rebounds and helped out defensively in the paint when called upon.


The Spurs are now 21-17 on the season and will return to the court on Thursday to open 2019 against Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors (27-11) at 7 pm Central Time from the AT&T Center.


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