Keys to the Game

Keys to the Game: Spurs 105, Celtics 102

Key Moment
Key Player
Box Score Nuggets
Quote of the Night

Key Moment

Forty years old and Manu Ginobili is still out here putting teams away in the clutch.

Kyrie Irving did all he could to lift the Celtics to a win Friday night in San Antonio, but his 36-point heroics weren’t enough to overcome Ginobili’s flare for the dramatic.

Ginobili canned the two biggest shots of the night, including the game-winner with 5.0 seconds left in regulation. The first shot was a buzzer-beating 3 to close the first half, which gave San Antonio a one-point edge.

The final shot, however, is the one everyone will remember.

With 10 seconds left in the game, and with seven seconds left on the shot clock, Ginobili dribbled into a pick-and-roll with LaMarcus Aldridge on the right wing, just outside of the 3-point line. Aldridge set his screen on the right side of Ginobilie’s defender, Jayson Tatum, but Tatum jumped over the screen to stall the play. Aldridge then countered by reversing sides on Tatum and setting a screen to his left, which freed Ginobili to take one dribble to his right before stepping into a 3-pointer over the outstretched arm of big man Al Horford.

Ginobili’s released his attempt with 7.0 seconds left on the game clock and with 4.0 seconds left on the shot clock. The shot arced so high that it actually left the television camera’s view, but it eventually fell back into frame and swished through the net with 5.0 seconds left.

Boston called back-to-back timeouts and eventually ran an inbound play that led to Kyrie Irving, who scored a game-high 36 points, getting a quality look at a game-tying 3-pointer from the right corner. However, his shot missed shortly ahead of the final buzzer and San Antonio held on for a 105-102 win.

Ginobili finished the contest with 11 points on 3-for-8 shooting. Not great numbers by any stretch, but numbers don’t matter much when you make the two biggest plays of the game.

Key Player

Celtics players not named Kyrie Irving shot just 40.3 percent from the field Friday night in San Antonio. Fortunately for them, that guy named Irving was on their side.

Irving kept Boston afloat during a competitive ballgame by scoring a game-high 36 points on 61.9 percent shooting from the field. He made 13 of his 21 field goal attempts, six of his 10 3-pointers, and all four of his free throws. The game’s next-highest point total was 27, tallied by LaMarcus Aldridge.

Irving didn’t do much in this game other than score, as he finished with just one rebound, one assist and one steal during 36-plus minutes of action. That was fine from Boston’s perspective, though, because it needed its top scoring threat to carry the load on offense.

Without Irving, San Antonio likely would have won this game handily. Instead, the Spurs needed a ridiculous game-winner from Manu Ginobili to hold on for the win.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Both teams shot less than 30 percent from long range (29.6 percent by San Antonio, 28.9 percent by Boston).
  • Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 36 points.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge notched a big double-double of 27 points and 10 rebounds.
  • Terry Rozier led all reserves with 13 points, and all players with four steals.
  • Bryn Forbes led all players with a plus-21 in the plus/minus category.
  • Boston outscored San Antonio in fast break points (14-12) and points in the paint (38-32) but still lost.
  • No player in the game tallied more than four assists.
  • Pau Gasol led the game with 11 rebounds.
  • Jayson Tatum put forth a strong effort with 20 points and eight rebounds.
  • Both teams shot it well from the free-throw line, as Boston made 88.2 percent of its free throws and San Antonio made 87.5 percent of its freebies.
  • Both teams made 38 field goals.

Quote of the Night

I thought it was cash money. I thought it was going to hit the bottom of the net, but obviously I didn’t put enough on it.

Kyrie Irving on his game-tying 3-point attempt at the end of regulation.

Key Player