NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, November 21st (All times Eastern)
San Antonio Spurs (8-3) at Boston Celtics (6-5), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The San Antonio Spurs know that no matter the score of the game, they need to keep their eyes on Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo.
After extending his double-digit assist streak with a bit of controversy last time out, Rondo will try to get the Celtics back into the win column on Wednesday night in a meeting with the Spurs.
Playing for the fourth time in five nights, the Celtics were routed 103-83 by the hosting Detroit Pistons on Sunday. Boston had won four of five coming in, but its seventh game in 10 days seemed to get the better of the club.
"Dead men walking," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "That's what it felt like. Really. Give Detroit credit. I thought they played extremely hard. ... We just had no legs."
Jared Sullinger came off the bench and netted 16 points and his bucket with 51 seconds remaining gave Rondo his 10th assist of the game. The Celtics seemed to be running their offense in favor of getting Rondo the helpers despite the blowout and Rivers said Rondo's assist streak was the reason he was still in the game at that point.
"Yeah, why not?" replied Rivers. "(The press) keeps talking about it, so I figured I would give him a shot at it. It's funny, the harder we tried, the worse we got at it."
Regardless of how he got there, Rondo has logged at least 10 assists in 34 straight games, the third-longest such streak in NBA history. It is the longest since John Stockton's 37-game run in 1989 and Magic Johnson holds the NBA record with 46 straight games with at least 10 assists accomplished from April 13, 1983-Feb. 28, 1984.
Rondo should have Paul Pierce to help him extend his streak tonight even though Pierce left the loss to Detroit in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury. It isn't believed to be serious and the break between games likely helped the forward.
Boston will need all of its weapons given that it has lost 15 of its past 18 at home to the Spurs, including an 87-86 decision in the lone meeting last season. Rondo had 17 points and 11 assists in that game, while Tim Duncan led five Spurs players in double figures with 10 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks.
San Antonio will also gun for a return to the win column following Monday's 92-87 defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Spurs rallied to get within two with under 90 seconds to play, but the Clippers' Chris Paul hit a turnaround jumper and Gary Neal came up empty on a 3-point try.
Duncan recorded a double-double with 20 points and 14 rebounds, while Manu Ginobili totaled 15 points, five boards and five helpers for the Spurs, who shot 35 percent from the field in their second loss in three games. Tony Parker was limited to 11 points on 5-of-11 shooting.
"We had a very disappointing second quarter," said Duncan, referring to a frame in which the Spurs were outscored 29-14. "I thought we came out strong and had a very good first quarter and built some momentum but we really lost it all in the second quarter. We did fight the rest of the way and had a much better second half. We got to a striking distance and just could not close it out."
San Antonio now begins a six-game road trip without swingman Stephen Jackson, who is expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks with a fractured finger suffered versus the Clippers. He is averaging 7.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game in 10 contests this season, making two starts.
The Spurs are 4-1 on the road this season.
11/21 10:39:45 ET