GAME PREVIEW (via STATS LLC)
The San Antonio Spurs have won six straight over the Boston Celtics, who were blown out when these teams met back in November.
Tyler Zeller got his first start with Boston then, and he's got nearly an entirely different cast of characters around him now.
The red-hot Zeller and his visiting Celtics figure to pose a bigger challenge for the Spurs in this matchup Friday night.
San Antonio (42-25) scored 66 second-half points to cruise to a 111-89 win Nov. 30 at Boston. Zeller, acquired from Cleveland in the offseason, had seven points and 10 rebounds.
The Celtics also started Jared Sullinger, Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green that night. Sullinger is out for the season and the other two have been traded. Avery Bradley is the only starter besides Zeller remaining from that contest.
Zeller is averaging 18.7 points on 75.8 percent shooting in his last three games. The Celtics have lauded the 7-footer's ability to step outside and make catch-and-shoot jumpers, with Zeller hitting 60.8 percent of those shots from between 15-20 feet.
THE BIG STORYLINE (via Chris Forsberg)
The focus tonight should be on how Boston responds to adversity. The Celtics didn't do it well on Wednesday night when Oklahoma City went on a decisive second-half run that put Boston in too big of a hole to claw back from. Now, with their five-game winning streak snapped, we're interested to see how the Celtics respond in a game in which they enter as heavy underdogs. San Antonio bounced back strong after coach Gregg Popovich blasted his team for a head-shaking loss to the Knicks earlier this week and should be looking to avoid another lapse. For those scoreboard watching: Milwaukee visits Brooklyn, Indiana is in Cleveland, Charlotte visits Sacramento, and Miami hosts Denver.