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Celtics-Spurs Game Blog: First Quarter

02.08.09 at 12:56 pm ET
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We are live from courtside on a Sunday afternoon for the Celtics and the Spurs. Unlike Thursday’s epic showdown with the Lakers which brought out some 15 LA media members and a handful of national NBA types, the mood here is decidedly tame. That’s in perfect harmony with the legacy the Spurs have carved out during the Tim Duncan era.

They have four championships, or one more than the Kobe-Shaq Lakers. They have the respect of everyone in the league, or at least those that know basketball, and they are a model of a well-run, efficient professional organization. In other words, bor-ing.

Well, maybe. But I’ll take Spurs-Celtics on a Sunday afternoon any day.

FIRST QUARTER WRAP: For two teams that made their bones playing defense, the first 12 minutes were a clinic in half-court offense. Both teams are shooting about 50 percent and have executed their offenses fairly well. Good start to this one.

Jess has you covered for the second quarter.

First Quarter Observations

– KG is on Matt Bonner and vice-versa. Like everyone else I’d love to see KG and Duncan battle for 35 minutes today, and no doubt they will see each other quite a bit. It would be interesting to see what would happen in the Finals if these two teams meet.

– Ronnie Garretson is working today’s game. Let’s just say from an experience standpoint that is an upgrade from the crew who worked Thursday. Doc Rivers was fined 15 grand for saying the refs lost control of the game. Talking about it before the game it seemed pretty clear that Doc considered it money well-spent.

– If you were scoring this as in a boxing match, you would have a draw in the first round. Lots of little interesting things going on, but no big punches thrown or landed yet.

– Pierce is matched up with Manu, which is a really fun combination. They are different players, to be sure, but both know every trick in the book. On the opposite part of the spectrum, you have Manu’s speed and quickness versus Pierce’s strength, but both are hellacious competitors.

– Here’s the big difference between the two teams. San Antonio’s bench is deep and versatile. Part of that is having Ginobli as a Sixth Man where he plays starters minutes. But Kurt Thomas is the kind of experienced tough big man teams are always looking for (especially the Celtics), and Bruce Bowen hasn’t made an appearance yet. Also keep an eye on rookie George Hill. The bench gives Gregg Popovich all kinds of options and scenarios.

– Perkins can get that little jump-hook off a post-up whenever he wants it because no one is going to double off Garnett, Pierce or Allen to stop it. If he can develop confidence in that move he can take the next step as a player.

– Versatility example. Pop brought Michael Finley back to deal with Pierce and force the Celtics to put Ray Allen on Ginobli, which is a much better match up for them.

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