The Boston Celtics (4-8, 2-5 away) visit the San Antonio Spurs (9-1, 4-0 home) on Wednesday night at the AT&T Center. Here's what to watch for:
POINT(S) OF EMPHASIS: For a Celtics team that ranks near the bottom of the league in most advanced offensive metrics, including rating (96.1, 26th) and points per possession (0.871, 26th), the Spurs are not a welcome sight. San Antonio's defense is second in rating (91.6) and third in points allowed per possession (0.839). Offense is unlikely to come easy for a team that has struggled to generate consistently generate points this season.
ONE CHANCE, ONE OPPORTUNITY: The Spurs are the best defensive rebounding team in the league (78.7 defensive rebound percentage). Let's put it this way: Opponents are generating only 4.1 percent of their total offensive chances against the Spurs off of offensive rebounds, according to Synergy Sports data. The Celtics, who rank dead last in defensive rebound percentage (71.1 percent) have seen opponents finish 6.1 percent of their total plays on offensive rebounds. Bottom line: The Celtics have to maximize each possession because the Spurs are tough to score on the first time and don't give you many second chances.
OVERCOMING THE BUMPS: Earlier in the season, the Celtics seemed to be rallying from a double-digit deficit in every game. Now, the fact that they've fallen behind by that much that often is troubling, but Boston never relented and always found a way to get back into games. In Minnesota and Houston, once the opponent built a decent lead, it felt like the game was over. Boston can't get frustrated when it struggles or else it spills over to both ends of the floor and games can get away against good teams.
WHAT ELSE?: Will Jeff Green make an impact at any point in this three-game road trip? He hasn't through two games. His line in that span: 2-of-13 shooting, six points, nine rebounds, four turnovers, minus-37 in plus/minus. ... Avery Bradley missed 17 of 22 shots he put up Tuesday, but here's hoping it doesn't discourage him. SOMEONE (anyone!) on this offense has to be aggressive and it's nice to see Bradley unafraid to be that guy. ... Likewise, encouraging to see Courtney Lee not afraid to fire away on Tuesday night (16 shot attempts). He remains one of the 15 most efficient offensive players in the league through 12 games and shouldn't be bashful when his offense is clicking.