Tonight, Gregg Popovich and his banged up San Antonio Spurs come into TD Bank Garden to face the Boston Celtics. Historically, the Celtics have had trouble with any variation of a Popovich Spurs team. Kawhi Leonard and Tiago Splitter have both been out and the Spurs are finding contributions from the likes of Aron Baynes and former Olympics and St. Mary’s standout Patty Mills.
Leave it to Popovich to get the best out of his unknown cast of players so that he doesn’t need to extend Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili‘s minutes. Pop knows exactly where he wants his team to be when April rolls around. No one knows how to do this better than Pop, not even Doc Rivers during his tenure with the Celts.
I don’t agree with this concerning chatter about the Spurs and that the Oklahoma City Thunder have overtaken them as the favorites in the west. As long as Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Gregg Popovich are on the same sideline and only one of them is wearing street clothes, the Spurs have to be considered the favorites out West. Look for this Spurs team to bounce back from a bad loss to the lowly Detroit Pistons, or I expect Pop to call a practice for his younger players during all-star weekend.
As for our boys in green, this is another showcase for Brad Stevens in how to get his players to give it their all. Jeff Green has looked inspired over the last two weeks and Jared Sullinger continues to impress the analysts around the league that doubted his abilities. Sullinger may not get too much time against Duncan tonight, but he should take notes from watching “The Big Fundamental” in person tonight.
We also get more Rajon Rondo tonight before he gets a nice rest over the weekend. With him and Parker playing limited minutes, we won’t see the duel between the two that we are accustomed to. Look for a few names on both sides of the ball to surprise us with their play.
Prediction: Spurs 100, Celtics 89