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For most of the first half against the San Antonio Spurs Wednesday, the Celtics were connected on defense.
They acted as one unit, each player more focused on watching the ball than on stopping the player they were assigned to guard.
When the ball moved, they all moved. And when one Celtics player was beaten off the dribble, there was a teammate who rotated over, ready to help.
Above all, the Celtics treated each possession preciously, playing with energy, and, as a unit, they were able to earn stops and keep themselves in the game against one of the NBA’s elite teams.
The Celtics didn’t maintain that effort, though, and suffered their fifth consecutive defeat, 104-93, dropping their record to 4-9 entering Friday’s game at TD Garden against the 10-1 Indiana Pacers.