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Getty Images Celtics' Jayson Tatum shoots against the Spurs

The Boston Celtics’ dreadful 14-point first quarter in the team’s 96-88 loss against the San Antonio Spurs, Friday night, marked the sixth time, this season where the Celtics finished the opening frame scoring 20 or fewer points.

All six outings, including a rare back-to-back stint against the Washington Wizards — where the Wizards held the Celtics to 19 and 20 first-quarter points — occurred on the road and resulted in a 2-4 record.

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Averaging 24.8 first-quarter points a night, the Celtics (10-10), 20 games into the 2021-22 campaign, are currently fourth in the NBA in the fewest first-quarter points per game, per Teamrankings.com.

Ime Udoka: ‘Hold Someone to 96, You Should be in Good Shape’

Still, Celtics head coach Ime Udoka credited his team for remaining tough on the defensive end of the floor, which ultimately propelled a 24-point comeback in a disappointing loss — where the Spurs rallied back behind a 15-0 run and never looked back.

“Anytime you hold someone to 96 (points), you should be in good shape. Obviously, the poor start got us in the hole,” Udoka said after Friday’s loss. “Fought our way back several times but it felt like every time, early on, that we got close to single digits, we got a turnover, took an ill-advised shot, let them get it back up to 15, or so. We still fought our way back, like you said, in a great third quarter defensively, holding them to 18 (points). And, even in the fourth quarter into our last, you know, they had 11 points with three minutes to go. So, we fought our asses off in the second half.

“Murray got the matchup he liked there. It was a little over everybody, like I said, he scored over everybody. So, it wasn’t like he was picking on a big or a small there. And, yeah, it’s disappointing to not score in our last three minutes. We had a 25-point quarter leading up to that. So, we should have finished that with a 30-plus point quarter. So, things to learn from the game.”

Celtics Starting 5 Searching for ‘Team Basketball’

In the end, Murray and the Spurs’ offensive onslaught of a 15-0 run made all of the difference. However, for Ime, things could have ended differently if his starting lineup got off to a better start in the first quarter, which according to the first-year head coach, is a testament to the selfish play that often corrodes the team-oriented approach Udoka’s preached throughout his first two months as NBA head coach.

“It seemed like everybody was trying to get themselves going,” Udoka said about the team’s offense in the first quarter. “Second quarter on; we were actually moving the ball and biting the double-teams. They went with a box-and-one on Jayson late, and we got the looks we wanted. Wide-open corner threes for Dennis, and penetration from other guys. Jayson got it going and they started to try to take him out of it, obviously. I think it was more so the first quarter of everybody trying to get going instead of playing team basketball.”

Preparation is key. The Celtics are currently 5-9 on the road and will be playing six out of the next seven games away from TD Garden — which is all of the more reason why Udoka is hoping he and his team can figure out how to unlock its first-quarter struggles on the road.

“I feel like at times we’re trying to get ourselves going and coming not yet ready to play,” Udoka said. “We shouldn’t have to take two-three shots to get us in a rhythm or to get us going. Come out and play the way we do it in the second, third, fourth quarters from the start. Guys are trying to find a rhythm instead of playing together. That’s what it looks like, to me, in the first quarter, at times.

“Everybody’s worried about their game and getting themselves going instead of what’s best for the team and playing together. When we do that, it’s very apparent that we’re different offensively. To hold someone to 96 (points) and only score 88 is disappointing.”

Ime Udoka: ‘The Second Half was a Different Story’

Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Dennis Schroder — who was inserted into the starting lineup in place of Robert Williams — alongside veteran Al Horford, have to play cohesively. Instead of the first-quarter approach that dug the Celtics into a 24-point hole, to begin with.

“The second half was a different story there — where we scored the ball extremely well. Just can’t dig ourselves that hole,” Udoka said. “Come out flat for no reason, we know what they’re going to do defensively and just have to continue to play together. It’s habits that we need to break.”

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Tags: washington wizards nba boston celtics nba breaking news 5 fast facts crime politics shopping the team’s first quarter points in the first quarter themselves going you should be playing together going instead starting lineup the second half on the road hold someone over everybody fourth quarter in the second trying to get three minutes play together point quarter are currently marcus smart jayson tatum the celtics against the celtics

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The Kings ready to showcase unsurpassed brilliance and blood-tingling thrills and skills of four real boxing legends

FOR those fight fans who haven’t got access to the ­discovery+ streaming service, find a friend who has because it’s featuring an ­exhilarating ­documentary series to drool over.

Between November 1980 and December 1989 four giant talents — Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran and Tommy ‘Hitman’ Hearns — had nine unforgettable fights between them. I was lucky enough to cover seven for SunSport.

4Marvin Hagler and Tommy Hearns enjoyed some epic battles

For unsurpassed brilliance, blood-tingling thrills and skills and enough pathos to empty a box of tissues, those glorious battles will still be talked and argued about 100 years from now.

British director Mat Whitecross was commissioned by American network Showtime to make a documentary of those epics.

Whitecross and his producer Fiona Neilson have come up with a masterpiece, aptly named The Kings, which audiences will rave about for years.

It took two years to make and consists of four, classic one-hour films of such breathtaking magnificence it captures every nuance of those dazzling duels.

The legendary quartet are interviewed in great depth before and after the fights and each one gives a fascinating insight into their complex characters and personalities.

Four fights stand out above the others, the first Leonard-Duran showdown, their return five months later, Hagler-Hearns and Hagler-Leonard.

4Sugar Ray Leonard will go down as one of the best ever Most read in SportGunners news Ruben Neves talks begin, Aubameyang 'offers himself to Barcelona''LOCKED UP' Female referee victim of revenge porn after leaked videos leave her in tearsDONE DILL Fury FINALLY accepts Whyte fight after AJ turns down £66m chance to step asideCONCACAF QUALIFYING USA vs El Salvador: Live stream, TV channel, kick-off time & team news

JOIN SUN VEGAS: GET A FREE £10 BONUS WITH 100s OF GAMES TO PLAY AND NO DEPOSIT REQUIRED (Ts&Cs apply)

I missed Leonard-Duran II and Hagler-Duran but the magnificent seven I did see are indelibly imprinted in my memory, though they took place four decades ago.

If Hollywood had scripted the kind of 15-round war Leonard and Duran waged in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, the critics would have rubbished it as too far-fetched.

They would have said it wasn’t possible for two men to have traded such punishing punches for 45 minutes at such a breakneck speed.

That Panamanian devil Duran got the narrow points decision. Leonard lost his world welterweight title and his unbeaten record.

That fight was choc-full of brilliance and bravery and is still the best I’ve ever seen.

When they met again five months later in New Orleans, Duran, who claimed he had stomach cramps, cried ‘No Mas’ in the eighth round and quit — the most notorious and ignominious capitulation in boxing history.

4Roberto Duran fought an incredible 119 times in his career

Leonard had regained his title and reputation but easily his most sensational victory was when his hand and foot speed, plus his ring savvy, completely bamboozled Hagler to earn a memorable 12-round split decision to win the world middleweight crown.

Sugar Ray came out of retirement having had one fight in five years — Hagler who hadn’t been beaten for 11 years never fought again.

Those of us ringside in Las Vegas when Hagler defended against Hearns will never forget the first round — claimed to be the most ferocious opening three minutes of all time. As the bell sounded, they leapt at each other like a couple of ravenous lions fighting over a carcass.

Blood cascaded down Hagler’s face from a deep gash in his forehead.

Concerned referee Richard Steele asked, “Can you see, Marvin?” Hagler’s terse reply was, “I’m not missing him, am I?” before knocking out Hearns in the third round.

The Kings highlights the very best of boxing as well as the worst.

Apart from Hagler, who retired at 33, sadly the others carried on far past their best and got themselves beaten up by inferior opponents.

I found The Kings as mesmerising as When They Were Kings, the documentary about the Ali-Foreman Rumble in the Jungle saga that won an Oscar 26 years ago — and I can’t give it higher praise than that.

4Marvin Hagler fell to a split decision loss to Sugar Ray Leonard in 1987

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