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Fast Break: Tim Duncan, Spurs board Celtics to death

11.21.12 at 9:52 pm ET
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The Celtics came within 90 seconds of becoming only the second team in the last 25 years to fail to record an offensive rebound — against the only other team do so. Only the Spurs won when they did it on Jan. 23, 2002. This time around, the C’s lost, 112-100.

Rajon Rondo (22 points, 15 assists) did his best to breathe life into a Celtics team seemingly already suffering a Thanksgiving Day tryptophan hangover, contributing to 19 of the C’s final 21 points. Brandon Bass broke his string of 19 straight when he mercifully tipped in an offensive rebound with 1:28 remaining.

Paul Pierce (19 points), Kevin Garnett (14 points) and Jeff Green combined for just three rebounds. Meanwhile, Tim Duncan totaled 20 points and 15 boards. Here’s what else went wrong:

WHAT WENT WRONG

Glass in session: The Celtics had already been out-rebounded eight times this season, and then proceeded to grab only one rebound in the first six minutes. One rebound. Meanwhile, the Spurs corralled eight. When the first quarter came to a close, San Antonio led 30-27, and Duncan had as many boards as the entire C’s roster (7). The Spurs finished the night with a 41-25 rebounding edge.

Open floor: It’s not like San Antonio’s defense was all that great in the first half, but the C’s D was atrocious. The Spurs shot 56.4 percent from the field in the opening 24 minutes, and Manu Ginobili (1-5 FG) was the only one under 50 percent. Long-range shooting has been a particular thorn in the C’s side (opponents shooting 37.1 percent from 3), and San Antonio finished a combined 6-of-9 before halftime.

Painting the picture: Through three quarters, the Spurs scored more than half their 82 points in the paint and outscored the Celtics in the key, 44-16. Hence San Antonio’s eight-point lead. With 12 minutes remaining, three of their bigs (Duncan, DeJuan Blair, Tiago Splitter) already reached double figures.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

JET arrives early: Terry entered the game averaging 15.0 points in 41 career games against the Spurs, and he picked up right he left off in Dallas, making 4-of-5 shots (10 points) in his first 7:30. The rest of the C’s started 3-of-9 from the floor, so Terry helped them tread water early. He scored only two points the rest of the way.

In the middle: Pierce came into Wednesday night’s contest shooting just 29 percent between 3-23 feet — this from a guy whose signature move is his step-back elbow jumper. Against the Spurs, he found that mid-range stroke, making three of his first four field goals on spinning fadeaway jump shots.

We’re going streaking: Well, at least Rondo extended his streak of double-digit assists to 35 games, moving with two games of John Stockton (37) and 11 of Magic Johnson (46). If he keeps it alive against the Spurs on Friday, The Celtics point guard could tie Stockton for the second-longest streak in NBA history on Sunday.

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, Rajon Rondo, San Antonio Spurs
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