|photo: Soobum Im (USA TODAY)|
In a crowded Western Conference, the Spurs, 11-4, sit at fifth. After a 1-3 start, San Antonio won nine of their last 10 games while competing in the league's toughest division.
The NBA's Southwest Division is home to four of the top six teams in the Western Conference.
Tony Parker leads the team in scoring, and Tim Duncan handles most of the rebounding for their squad. Nothing new, really. These two have been doing this for years in San Antonio. Led by coach Popovich, who may not be on the bench with his team due to a minor medical procedure, the Spurs have had great success against in the past against Boston.
The Celtics haven't beaten the Spurs since March 11, 2011. San Antonio's ability to spread the ball around is what makes them a good offensive team but it's their defense that wins them games. Spurs limit their opponents to a league's best, 92.7 points per contest.
Although the Celtics are one of the NBA's best shooting teams, they haven't measured up well against great defensive squads. The Rockets had their way with the Celtics earlier this month and the Grizzlies blew them out of Memphis by 17. It's no coincidence why Houston and Memphis are second and third in the league in points allowed, behind the Spurs.
On the Brightside: Celtics scored at least 100 points or more in both games against Houston and Memphis. An impressive mark, but if they want to stand a chance against the champs they need to keep the score low.
The Spurs have also been shooting the ball extremely well lately. They have been shooting 53.3 percent from the floor, 46.9 percent from three. Parker is averaging 24.5 points in his last four games. Kawhi Leonard (14.5 points, 46 percent) and Manu Ginobili (11.6 points, 43 percent) both have helped boost San Antonio's shooting percentage and can get going quickly once they start knocking down jumpers.
The Celtics, 28th in points allowed, have been playing better defense lately but if they suffer one too many scoring droughts it will cost them the game today. Although the C's defended the Bulls well in the fourth quarter last Friday afternoon, the Celtics stumbled mightily in trying to put the ball through the rim.
If they do the same in today's matinee, and score anywhere near 11 points in the fourth quarter, San Antonio will finish off Boston well before Rondo and Sullinger miss their free throws.