San Antonio’s Keldon Johnson shoots against Boston’s Tristan Thompson in the second half Wednesday night at San Antonio. The Spurs won 110-106. Eric Gay/Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO — DeMar DeRozan scored 21 points, Keldon Johnson had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs held on to beat the Boston Celtics 110-106 on Wednesday night.

LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 points, Dejounte Murray had 11 points and 11 rebounds and San Antonio won its second straight home game.

The Celtics’ projected starting five of Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Daniel Theis played together for the first time this season. Tatum had 25 points, Brown added 24, and Smart and Walker had 14 apiece.

Their balanced output was not enough as Boston had its two-game winning streak end.

After DeRozan hit a pair of free throws to give the Spurs a 103-101 lead, Theis’ dunk tied the game with 40 seconds remaining. After San Antonio regained the lead on DeRozan’s 8-foot jumper, Murray had a breakaway dunk off a steal to give the Spurs a 107-103 lead.

The Spurs rallied after giving up a double-digit lead in the second half.


San Antonio made 14 of its last 15 shots in the first half during a 29-6 run. Lonnie Walker IV had nine points in the run and closed with 14 points.

A pair of 3-pointers by Aldridge tied the game and gave the Spurs their first lead at 46-43 since the opening seconds of the game.

Three days after setting a season high for points in the third quarter against Cleveland, Boston came within four points of matching the mark in outscoring San Antonio 37-21 to open the second half. Tatum and Brown combined for 22 points in the quarter.

San Antonio had a season-high 20 turnovers, including five during Boston’s 13-1 run to close the third.


Kemba Walker won’t be playing back-to-back games or big minutes anytime soon.


On his weekly radio appearance on the Sports Hub’s Zo & Bertrand, Celtics Coach Brad Stevens said he’s planning to manage his guard’s time for the regular season.

Walker sat out Monday’s game against the Chicago Bulls after playing Sunday night against Cleveland.

“He’s been pain-free, even after these games, which is really, really encouraging,” Stevens said. “We won’t play him on the second night of back-to-backs. That’ll be consistent throughout the whole year, I’m guessing. And we’ll keep his minutes down. I’m not going to get into the mid-30s at any time in the near future. It’s all part of a plan that’s not only in the best interest of this team, but the best interest of his career moving forward.

“As the season goes on and we get into late April or late May before the playoffs, we’ll ramp him up a little bit.”

So far, the NBA has only scheduled the first half of the season through March 4. There could be more back-to-backs in the second half as the league tries to reschedule games lost to COVID-19 postponements.

As of now, Walker will miss three games in these back-to-backs:


  • Feb. 2 at Golden State / Feb. 3 at Sacramento
  • Feb. 16 vs. Denver / Feb. 17 vs. Atlanta
  • Feb. 23 at Dallas / Feb. 24 at Atlanta

Walker has averaged 17.0 points in 23.5 minutes in four games since returning to the lineup.

Stevens said the NBA originally expected to start its season in mid to late January, so Walker was on a strengthening program designed to have him ready for that. When the start was pushed up to just before Christmas, the Celtics chose not to accelerate Walker’s plan.

“He looks good. I guess I’m not surprised though. I understood the angst and concern on the outside because nobody had seen him,” Stevens said. “I’d seen him for the better part of two or three weeks right before he started playing. I knew what the plan was with a long-term strengthening program.”

Stevens said the expectation is if Walker continues to take care of his knee, the gains he made this offseason are likely to hold.

“The hope with the strengthening program and the treatment plan is that it’s not something to worry about, but it is something you always have to work on and make sure you’re on top of,” Stevens said.

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