|2:00 PM PT3:00 PM MT4:00 PM CT5:00 PM ET22:00 GMT6:00 3:00 PM MST5:00 PM EST2:00 UAE (+1)23:0017:00 ET4:00 PM CT20:00 , November 9, 2019
AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas Attendance: 18,354
Spurs look to continue dominance vs. surging Celtics
Boston Celtics at San Antonio Spurs
- The Spurs are 34-9 against the Celtics since head coach Gregg Popovich's first season with the team in 1996-97. That is the best record by any team against any opponent over that time.
- Entering games on Friday, the Celtics were one of two teams this season, also Clippers, with three players averaging at least 20.0 points: Kemba Walker (24.3), Jayson Tatum (21.6) and Gordon Hayward (20.3).
- This will be the 500th career NBA game coached by Brad Stevens. Only three Celtics coaches all-time have coached more games for Boston: Red Auerbach (1192), Doc Rivers (721) and Tom Heinsohn (690).
- Boston has outscored its opponents by 12.9 points per 100 possessions when Jayson Tatum is on the court this season. Entering games on Friday, that is the fourth-highest mark by any player this season: Kawhi Leonard (+18.0), Giannis Antetokounmpo (+14.9) and LeBron James (+12.9) (min. 200 min.).
- Entering games on Friday, San Antonio ranks 29th in the NBA in three-pointers made per game at 8.4 (Magic -- 8.1). Bryn Forbes has made 31.3 percent (21/67) of San Antonio's three-pointers, the highest percentage of any team's three-pointers made by a single player this season.
- Gordon Hayward has scored 59 points over his last two games, the most he has scored over any two-game span in his Celtics career. After averaging 11.5 points last season, Hayward's scoring average is up to 20.3 points this season; his improvement of 8.8 points per game is currently the third-largest season-over-season increase (min. 70% team games played).
For the Boston Celtics to extend their winning streak to seven games, they'll have to do something they've done only once over the past eight years: beat the San Antonio Spurs.
The task becomes even taller on the road as they travel to San Antonio to face LaMarcus Aldridge & Co. on Saturday night. The Celtics last won in San Antonio in March 2011 before proceeding to drop 14 of their next 15 to Gregg Popovich's squad.
Boston enters Saturday atop the Eastern Conference standings at 6-1. The Celtics handily beat the Charlotte Hornets, 108-87, on Thursday night, but many on the team feel there's still room for improvement.
"We've been winning, of course, but I don't think we've really put together a full game yet," guard Kemba Walker said. "We're just playing in spurts right now. We just need to get better, and we will."
Walker was the focus Thursday in his first game back to Charlotte following eight seasons with the franchise. He got off to a slow start, missing his first six shots, before heating up in the third to finish with 14 points.
"It's really hard," coach Brad Stevens said of the emotional night for Walker. "He had the right idea coming into the game but you knew right after they played that (pregame tribute) video, that probably was going to be a tough start."
Jayson Tatum carried the offense with 23 points, while Gordon Hayward followed a career-high-tying 39 points Tuesday with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Aldridge scored 39 of his own Thursday, leading the Spurs to a 121-112 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. The victory snapped a two-game skid for San Antonio, which has won five of its first eight to begin the season.
Aldridge went 19 of 23 from the floor after being held to single-digit scoring in two of his four previous games.
"I definitely put the work in," he said. "Just waiting for my shot to come back. The first one felt good, after that I just tried to stay with it."
Aldridge was further boosted by improved play from point guard Dejounte Murray, who had committed seven turnovers between the back-to-back losses. He limited it to two on Thursday while dishing out a career-high 10 assists.
"I've got to stop being sloppy," Murray said.
The Spurs' dominance over the Celtics extends beyond the decade: San Antonio is 44-13 in their matchups since 1990. Boston coach Stevens has bested Popovich only once, at home in a 108-94 win in October 2017.
The Celtics are getting closer to 100 percent after big man Enes Kanter (knee) was upgraded to questionable before ultimately sitting out the game against Charlotte. Kanter has missed the team's past six games with the injury.
Meanwhile, Boston got swingman Jaylen Brown back against the Hornets, and he scored 12 in the win. Brown had missed three games with a leg infection that he said required five hospital trips.
"I'm glad it's behind me now," he said.
--Field Level Media
Updated November 8, 2019