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Fast Break: Celtics drop fifth straight, spoil Jared Sullinger’s first start

11.20.13 at 10:46 pm ET
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It wasn’t quite as bad as Tuesday’s loss to the Rockets, but the Celtics dropped their fifth straight, 104-93 to the Spurs.

The C’s actually played San Antonio to a standstill in the first half, but the defending Western Conference champions outscored Boston by 10 in the third quarter and never looked back.

Jared Sullinger totaled 19 points and 17 rebounds in his first start of the season. Avery Bradley and Jeff Green also chipped in with 19 points apiece, but the C’s fell to 4-9 on the season.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Giving it up: The Celtics committed 17 turnovers, and that’s not even the bad news. The Spurs were outscoring the C’s 25-0 on points off turnovers at one point. You’re not winning many games with that kind of discrepancy.

Bass low: Coming off the bench for the first time this season, Brandon Bass finished with a minus-21 plus/minus rating in 19 minutes. His six points tied a season-low and his one rebound was his lowest output since Jan. 2.

Interior defense: The biggest problem for the C’s this season has been the lack of an interior presence. The Spurs found Boris Diaw time and again wide open under the basket, and San Antonio finished with 48 points in the paint as a team. Starting bigs Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter combined for 24 points and 19 rebounds.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Jelly Sullynyk: Celtics coach Brad Stevens tried his fifth different lineup in his first 13 games, finally teaming the complementary Sullinger and Olynyk combination to open the first quarter. Sullinger responded with his first double-double of the season, and Olynyk added eight points and eight boards.

Bradley buckets: Starting 7-of-11 from midrange, Bradley improved to 47.6 percent (40-84 FG) from that range — a clip that ranks second among guards who play 20 minutes a night, trailing only Mo Williams. Bradley made a concerted effort to improve his jumper this summer — his first without an injury — and it’s paid off big time.

Green machine: After scoring just six points combined in his last two games, Green bounced back to score 19 points on 14 shots, adding five rebounds and three assists.

For a complete box score, click here.

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