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Reply To: NBA • Saturday Service Plays • 12/5/15

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Preview: Boston At San Antonio

When: 8:30 PM ET, Saturday, December 5, 2015

Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas

The scorching hot San Antonio Spurs aim for their eighth victory in nine games when they host the Boston Celtics on Saturday. San Antonio has experienced few problems handling the Celtics while recording eight straight victories in the series, including a 95-87 win in Boston on Nov. 1.

The Spurs rolled to a 103-83 road win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday as small forward Kawhi Leonard made a career-high seven 3-pointers as part of a 27-point effort. “I’ve been confident in it,” Leonard told reporters after raising his 3-point percentage to an NBA-leading 50 percent. “I got hot so I kept shooting until I missed. Shots just fell for me.” The Celtics are 2-1 on a five-game road trip and rolled to a 114-97 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Thursday in a contest played in Mexico City. Boston, which has won four of its last five games, is forcing a league-leading 18.4 turnovers.

TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, CSN New England (Boston), FSN Southwest (San Antonio)

ABOUT THE CELTICS (11-8): Starting point guard Marcus Smart (leg) remains sidelined and coach Brad Stevens updated the situation on Thursday and made it clear the second-year pro isn’t close to returning. “Three weeks away from the injury would still be very aggressive,” Stevens told reporters. “I don’t see him playing anytime in the near future. Hopefully in a couple weeks he can rejoin us.” Versatile Isaiah Thomas is receiving most of the minutes at the point and he had 21 points, nine assists and four steals in the victory over the Kings.

ABOUT THE SPURS (16-4): Leonard’s improvement as a 3-point shooter has been astonishing as he shot just 25 percent at the shorter college distance during two seasons at San Diego State. Last season’s 34.9 percent ratio was his lowest over his first four NBA campaigns, but his torrid performance so far this season has helped him increase his scoring average to 21.9. “He’s been shooting the ball very well this year from the 3-point line,” point guard Tony Parker told reporters. “I think his decision-making is improving and he’s taking great shots.”

BUZZER BEATERS

1. The Spurs are 10-0 at home this season and eight of the wins have come by double digits.

2. Boston had four players score 20 or more points in the win against the Kings – Thomas and backup C Kelly Olynyk with 21 points and SF Jae Crowder and SG Avery Bradley with 20 apiece.

3. San Antonio SG Danny Green missed all five of his field-goal attempts against Memphis and is 11-of-44 over his last six games.

PREDICTION: Spurs 106, Celtics 98