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Shorthanded Spurs fight Celtics into the final minute before falling, 121-116

San Antonio was on short rest and without three of their best players, but almost beat a loaded Boston team behind a total team effort.

SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Spurs (13-27) had under 24 hours to rest for the Boston Celtics (28-12), and despite missing key starters in Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell and Jakob Poeltl, the Spurs made the reigning Eastern Conference champs sweat to the end in a 121-116 game.

The team pushed back tipoff to honor Derrick White with a video tribute, and the crowd gave him a warm ovation. Then he immediately got after his former team. He stuffed Tre Jones on a drive, then dimed Jaylen Brown on a pair of baskets, then got an and-1 and a three. Boston stormed out to a 13-2 lead before the Spurs climbed back in.

Jeremy Sochan started with a pair of one-handed free throws, then dropped in a mid-range jumper, then drilled a triple, then found Malaki Branham for three.

 Romeo Langford got a few buckets against his old squad. Doug McDermott hit a three, then Branham picked off a pass and laid it up the other way to make it a two-point game.

Josh Richardson hit Stanley Johnson for a jumper, then hit a middie himself, then drained a triple to tie it. Boston led 33-30 after one, but ripped off a 9-0 run after San Antonio tied it.

Zach Collins drove between defenders and bounced backward but hit the shot. He hit a few more tough shots and made his way to the line, the only problem was Jayson Tatum kept answering. Collins scored 10 points in a stretch in the second quarter, the second game in a row with a nice little scoring spurt.

Sochan found Richardson for three, then Collins handed it to Branham for a jumper and Langford scored on a putback, but the Spurs just couldn't stop Boston's offense. Branham got blocked on a three, then came back in pick and roll and hit a floater, then Tre Jones got one himself.

Boston took a 68-57 lead into halftime behind 35 combined points from Tatum and Brown.

Tre Jones scored three baskets out of the locker room and KBD and Collins each got a putback as the Spurs quickly climbed to within three points. Sochan hit Langford for a cutting layup, and Boston called time clinging to a one-point lead.

Marcus Smart went to the locker room after banging knees with Collins. Jones put his shoulder down and created space before hitting the brakes and popping in a floater. Boston pushed their lead back to 7 before collins sealed off a defender and scored inside. Collins blocked Tatum, Jones scored off a feed from Stanley Johnson, then when Jones missed off another feed from Johnson Collins put it back up and in to cut it to one.

Brown drove for an and-1, but Johnson answered with a pair of free throws. Robert Williams came back into the game and provided some resistance at the rim, leading to opportunities the other way. Johnson drove baseline and bumped his way into a layup, but Tatum scored inside and outside to fuel a big 9-2 run.

Josh Richardson spun and flipped in an off-balance hook shot, then crossed over into a three, then Branham drove and scored. Despite the injuries and the short rest, San Antonio trailed just 93-89 heading to the fourth.

Doug McDermott started the final period with a floater and a foul shot, then knocked down a triple. Boston pushed their lead to 8 before another bucket by Collins, matching his career high with 18. McDermott hit another shot in close, then Jones drove in for a floater and another layup, but Boston's offense started clicking again.

Jones forced a turnover and J-Rich lobbed it up to Sochan for an oop. Langford drove for a layup, then got it to SOchan for another bucket to make it a 5-point game.

White missed a three, but made up for it on the other end with another block. Langford took a handoff from Collins and pulled up for a jumper to make it a one-possession game, then J-Rich took a charge on Brown. Langford turned the corner and made it a one-point game.

San Antonio played great defense for 23 seconds, but White lobbed it up to Rob Williams for a buzzer-beating jam. Pop called time down 3 with 48 seconds left. He drew up a play that ended in a game-tying three for Richardson, who swished it.

Tatum hit a quick mid-range jumper to take a late lead, then Sochan got a decent look at a three but missed it. Tatum hit the first free throw but missed the second, but the Spurs couldn't get the board and had to foul again.

Boston escaped with a 121-116 win, but San Antonio had to be pleased with their performance all things considered.

Zach Collins, Tre Jones and Josh Richardson each scored 18 points, and five other guys scored in double figures for San Antonio.


The Spurs are coming off a 121-109 home win versus the Detroit Pistons.

Tre Jones had 23 points and three rebounds to lead the team while Romeo Langford added 15 points starting in place of the injured Devin Vassell. Malakai Branham finished with 14 points and two rebounds while Jakob Poeltl recorded 11 points and 16 rebounds in the win.

Spurs' Keldon Johnson exited the game in the first half with a left hamstring injury and did not return to the game.

"Tre [Jones] just gives you everything on both ends. He's driving it to the hole. He's trying to make passes. He's playing D [defense]. He reminds me a lot of [former Spur] Cory Joseph in that way," coach Gregg Popovich said.



The Spurs-Celtics game will be broadcasted on KENS 5 tonight


The Spurs' have recalled Blake Wesley and he'll be available tonight versus Boston.


Spurs' Romeo Langford is looking forward to facing his former team.


The Spurs will be in their Association Edition jerseys today.


1. The Celtics are 11-0 on the road when leading after the third period.

2. The Celtics have made more free throws than their opponents in five-straight games.

3. The Celtics are 13-5 versus sub-.500 teams this season.

4. The Spurs are 1-6 on the second game of a back-to-back.

5. The Spurs have won two-straight games versus the Celtics.

Stay here at KENS 5 throughout the season for complete Spurs coverage.

 Twitter: @KENS5, @JeffGSpursKENS5 

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