After three days of rest, Spurs back on court to face Boston

Tip-off from AT&T Center scheduled for 8:30 p.m.

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 08: Head coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs gives instrutions to his team as Tony Parker #9 listens against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on December 8, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

SAN ANTONIO – There has been and undeniable buzz around the Spurs practice facility this week, not just because Tim Duncan showed up to a couple of practices and spent time working with Pau Gasol, but Sunday the Spurs will retire his No. 21 jersey.

The moment when that jersey is revealed hanging from the rafters it will be emotional for some of his former teammates.

"I know its going to be emotional for sure because your life is tied to this for so long and your going to be remembering so many things," said Manu Ginobili, a teammate of Duncan's for four NBA titles.

Ginobili suspects Tim will also be caught up in some emotion.

"For sure it is going to be emotional for him because it's emotional for everybody. He spent 20 years of his life around something, he accomplished unbelievable things," said Ginobili. "I think that is going to be a great opportunity to finally close it the way he deserves."

Before that night of emotion and memories, the Spurs have some work to do.

San Antonio has a chance to keep things headed in the right direction at home.

They host the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night at the AT&T Center and will be looking to pick up their seventh win at home, third in a row, against four losses.

San Antonio is coming off the huge home blowout over the Brooklyn Nets 130-101, and are 19-5 overall.

The Celtics are 8-6 on the road so once again the Spurs will have their work cut out for them. One of the keys for the Spurs is to get off to a quick start to keep from having to dig out of a hole at home. Against the Nets, they actually got off to a solid start.

"We want to keep that in our mindset," said Danny Green. “We always dug ourselves in a hole and we don't want to start that way and from here on out we want come out jump on teams, have that energy from the start."

The Spurs led by Kawhi Leonard, averaging 24.7 points a game, have had a few days off.

They took advantage of that by being able to have a couple of much needed practices.

"We haven't had a chance to have a good practice in a while," Green said. “Hopefully tonight we can translate it over to the game and  show that we can play better."

Since the Spurs are playing back-to-back games, Wednesday at home against Boston and Thursday on the road in Phoenix, LaMarcus Aldridge will sit out against the Celtics for rest.

ABOUT THE CELTICS (13-11): Isaiah Thomas said late last week that he was aiming to return for the game against San Antonio, but if he cannot go Wednesday it will yield another start for Marcus Smart. The third-year pro had 11 points, nine assists and six rebounds in the loss to the Thunder while continuing his pattern of playing better when in the starting lineup. 

ABOUT THE SPURS (19-5): Leonard is averaging 25.8 points while shooting 53.3 percent in five games this month and has just six turnovers in 166 total minutes during that stretch.

Mills matched Leonard with four 3-pointers Saturday and he has made 10 over the last three games after missing all five of his long-range attempts (and all eight of his shots overall) in a one-point effort at Milwaukee on Dec. 5. The Australia native is averaging 15.7 points in only 22.3 minutes in the three-game surge.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Leonard had 25 points and 10 rebounds while Thomas finished with 24 points and eight assists in San Antonio's 109-106 win at Boston last month.

2. Celtics F Jaylen Brown is averaging 10 points off the bench since Thomas went down after scoring a total of 13 points in his previous eight games.

3. The teams entered Tuesday's play tied for sixth in the NBA in 3-point percentage defense (33.9).


About the Authors:

David Sears, a native San Antonian, has been at KSAT for more than 20 years.