It was the same scenario we’ve already seen multiple times this season, and will no doubt see countless more: The veteran Spurs, focused as much on managing minutes as winning games, playing a sub-.500 opponent even for longer than they’d like before putting them down with ruthless efficiency. It was Boston’s turn to play the victim on Wednesday as the Spurs, keeping pace with Indiana atop the league standings at 10-1, won their eighth straight.

It was a credit to the Celtics, pasted by Houston on Tuesday, that they battled to a halftime standstill. But rather than wait until the stretch run, as was the case in their last outing at Utah, the Spurs took control with 32 points in the third quarter. The lead soon ballooned to 19, after which Boston made a modest, if futile, run. While that might have frustrated their head coach, it had no impact on the ultimate result: Another workmanlike victory for the Spurs.

Player of the game

Kawhi Leonard was quiet for much of Wednesday’s game. When he did finally come alive, he bent the game to his will with 12 of his 16 points in the third quarter, including 10 in the first 4:09 alone. As is so often the case, Leonard fueled his surge with activity, picking off two steals and pulling down five boards. (He finished with five and eight, respectively.) That level of effort renders touches meaningless as he makes himself a factor by sheer force of will.

The decisive moment

Leonard’s outburst formed the backbone of a monster third quarter for the Spurs, who scored 32 points to take a double-digit lead into the fourth quarter. Tony Parker, who did not play over the final 12 minutes, scored eight of his 19, while Tim Duncan added seven for his lone stretch of effectiveness. The Spurs were also dominant on defense, limiting Boston to 40.9 percent in the quarter after giving up 48 points in the first half.

News, notes and observations

* More frustration for Duncan, whose season shooting percentage dropped further below the 40-percent mark — we’ll call it the Starks Line — with a 3-for-13 outing. It started well enough with a dunk and layup on the Spurs’ first two possessions. It went downhill fast after that as he misfired on 10 of his last 11 shots, including all five attempts outside of five feet. I’d post his blood-red shot chart, but at this point it just seems mean.

The Spurs were obviously doing everything they could to get their long-time cornerstone going, but to no avail. Less than a month into his 17th season, the book on Duncan is crystal clear: Let him take anything he wants on the perimeter, then body him up when he does venture in the paint. Duncan at least earned eight free throws. But he also missed 5 of 8 shots around the rim, and drew a technical foul for complaining about the contact that wasn’t called.

Once again, however, it had little impact on his team’s offensive fortunes. The Spurs shot 48 percent from the floor, notching 27 assists with eight 3-pointers en route to a healthy 107.7 offensive rating.

* Image of the night, courtesy of Boston coach Brad Stevens, turning away in disgust even before Danny Green let fly on a successful 3-ball from the corner early in the fourth quarter.