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Fast Break: Tim Duncan, undermanned Spurs stop Celtics

02.12.14 at 9:46 pm ET

Tim Duncan offered a reminder of what can happen when the Ping Pong balls don’t fall the Celtics way, turning back the clock 17 years after they missed out on one of the game’s great power forwards. Duncan finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds to held the Spurs hand the C’s their second loss in three games, 104-92.

Six Celtics scored in double figures — led by 15 points from Kris Humphries and Kelly Olynyk (10 rebounds, second straight double-double) — but the Celtics dropped to 19-35. Here’s what went wrong (and right) entering the All-Star break.


Worst first: Sans two of their big three — Tony Parker (back) and Manu Ginobili (hamstring) — as well as key contributors Kawhi Leonard (hand) and Tiago Splitter (calf), the Spurs still dug the Celtics an early hole. Led by Marco Belinelli, who posted nine first-quarter points and five early assists without Avery Bradley (ankle) to frustrate him, San Antonio shot 56 percent as a team and led 25-19 after one.

Green thumbs down: It was an ugly Jeff Green outing this time around. He missed his first six shots before knocking down a 3 at the end of the first quarter, and then failed on a couple bunnies before sinking a buzzer-beating layup to limit the damage to 48-44 at the break. He had more turnovers (2) than rebounds (1), assists, steals or blocks at the half. Green’s engagement early once again proved an indication of his overall performance.

Not going streaking: After logging six straight double-doubles, Jared Sullinger‘s string came to an end. The reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week started 2-of-9 from the field (0-2 3P) and sat for a large stretch of the second half in favor of Olynyk, Kris Humphries and (wait for it) Joel Anthony.


Early KO: After recording the first double-double of his career on Monday, Olynyk had himself another nice outing against the Spurs. He had 10 points, six rebounds and two assists — a welcome sight after an up-and-down (mostly down) couple months. Another encouraging sign: He split his four early buckets between the paint and midrange.

Right guard: In 15 first-half minutes stretching midway through the first quarter to a few minutes before halftime, Bayless put himself on early triple-double alert, gathering four points, four boards and six assists. He bolstered a backcourt without Bradley and actually helped the Celtics dig themselves out of an 11-point hole with Rondo on the bench. Behind Bayless, the Celtics even grabbed a short-lived 36-34 lead six minutes into the second quarter.

Long-distance Rondo: The Celtics point guard didn’t make three 3-pointers in a game for the first seven years of his career, and now he’s accomplished that feat in two of his last three games. He connected on 3-of-6 attempts against the Mavericks on Sunday and drilled all three tries against San Antonio. In just 10 games this season, Rondo already has 10 triples — the same number he had in both his 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.

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