Published February 12, 2014
(SportsNetwork.com) - The San Antonio Spurs continue their long Rodeo trip on Wednesday night when they visit TD Bank Garden to take on the improving Boston Celtics.
The Spurs are 3-2 thus far on their nine-game odyssey and will head west after this weekend's All-Star break. They will visit the Los Angeles Clippers, Portland Trail Blazers and Phoenix Suns.
San Antonio has dropped two of its last three on this trip. On Monday, the Spurs fell victim to the Detroit Pistons and John Loyer regime. In his first game as head coach, Loyer guided the Pistons to a 109-100 victory.
According to the Spurs boss, it wasn't about a new man on the other bench.
"That happens, but it had nothing to do with it," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "They played with physicality and emotion. I thought our defense was the worse we played all year; in the first half. Mentally and physically, I thought we did not bring it and they brought it for a variety of reasons and kicked our (butt)."
Marco Belinelli returned from a one-game absence to put up 20 points for San Antonio, but the Spurs committed 19 turnovers that the Pistons converted into 26 points and were dealt only their seventh loss in 26 road tests this season.
Boris Diaw finished with 12 points, while Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Corey Joseph all had 11.
Parker returned to San Antonio on Tuesday and won't play Wednesday. The official reason given was rest. Tiago Splitter (calf) has also been ruled out for the Boston game.
The Celtics have been playing good ball of late, winning four of their last five.
The only loss during that stretch was a home setback to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday, but the C's atoned for the loss on Monday with a road victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Jeff Green poured in 29 points to lead the Celtics to a 102-86 decision at the Bradley Center.
Kelly Olynyk recorded a 14-point, 11-rebound double-double, while Phil Pressey and Jared Sullinger, the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week, chipped in 13 points apiece for Boston. Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo missed the tilt due to rest.
The game was close through three quarters, but Boston opened it up in the fourth by outscoring its counterpart 32-18 in the final 12 minutes.
"We made a ton of long twos, a couple of threes and -- bang, bang, bang -- and we got a couple of stops," Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said of the fourth quarter.
The Spurs bested the Celtics by 11 in San Antonio on Nov. 20 and have taken four straight in the series. The Spurs are 16-3 in their last 19 encounters in Beantown.