AP NEWS

DeRozan scores 30, Walker tossed, Spurs beat Celtics 129-114

January 9, 2020 GMT
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Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker (8) watches as referee Evan Scott charges him with a technical foul during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020 in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
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Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker (8) watches as referee Evan Scott charges him with a technical foul during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020 in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

BOSTON (AP) — Kemba Walker was ejected for back-to-back profanities, a fan was arrested for throwing a beer can, and Gregg Popovich didn’t feel much like hanging around, either.

The San Antonio coach was understandably perturbed after the beer can sailed over the Spurs bench and landed on the court during a game-changing swing in Wednesday night’s 129-114 victory over the Boston Celtics.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he apologized to the Spurs. Popovich spoke to reporters for 33 seconds, and did not address the incident.

“I told Pop after the game I’m really sorry that they had to experience that,” Stevens said. “I hope that person’s not allowed in an NBA arena again.”

DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points for San Antonio, which scored 22 of the game’s first 25 points to drop the Celtics into their biggest hole of the season. Boston cut the deficit to 76-69 midway through the third, when Walker was knocked to the court on a hard pick by LaMarcus Aldridge.

Walker rose from the court waving at the air, and approached referee Evan Scott. He got one technical and then — as Spurs guard Patty Mills tried to hold him back — got a second less than four seconds later. Stevens was also given a technical.

“In real time, it’s a difficult play,” crew chief Rodney Mott told a pool reporter. “But we did deem the screen to be legal, as LaMarcus was set.”

Both technicals were for profanity, Mott said. It was Walker’s first ejection in his nine-year career.

“I thought I was being nice,” said Walker, a two-time winner of the NBA’s Joe Dumars Award for sportsmanship. “I thought the ref missed the call. … The rest is history.”

The game was delayed briefly while the court was cleaned up and the public address announcer asked the fans not to throw things. Celtics spokesman Christian Megliola said the fan who threw the can was promptly located and arrested; their identity was not immediately available.

“We can’t have that,” Boston forward Gordon Hayward said. “I love our fans. I love our passion. But we’ve got to stay away from that.”

The hubbub halted a 20-7 run that erased most of a 20-point deficit. Aldridge made two of the three technical foul shots and, when when he missed the third, Derrick White was fouled and made both free throws to give the Spurs an 80-69 lead.

San Antonio soon went on an 11-0 run, and the Celtics never got within single digits again.

“That can energize the crowd, or energize the team,” DeRozan said. “We held on and did what we were supposed to do.”

Lonnie Walker IV scored 19 points for the Spurs, who improved to 9-6 since Dec. 1, when they had a 7-14 record. San Antonio avoided what would have been the first season sweep by the Celtics since 2011.

Hayward scored 18 points and Jaylen Brown had 16 for Boston, which has lost two in a row for just the third time this season.

MINUTES RESTRICTION

Walker was on an unspecified minutes restriction in his first game back after missing three with the flu. But he wound up playing just 18 minutes before he was tossed. He finished with six points, four assists and three rebounds.

EARLY STRUGGLES

The Celtics made one basket in the first seven minutes and trailed 22-3 before Enes Kanter hit a foul-line jumper to end a 14-0 run. It was 26-7 when Boston scored 11 of the next 13 points, and San Antonio went into the second quarter leading 34-22.

It was 65-47 at halftime.

TIP-INS

Tacko Fall played the first first-half minutes of his career. He was in for 5 minutes, missing one shot and grabbing one rebound. ... Marcus Smart hit his 500th career 3-pointer ... Trey Lykes had seven points and three rebounds for San Antonio in the first quarter.

UP NEXT

Spurs: At Memphis on Friday.

Celtics: Visit Philadelphia on Thursday.

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