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San Antonio at Boston

Spurs avert collapse, edge Celtics

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BOSTON -- Paul Pierce got the shot he wanted.

Tim Duncan got the result.

Duncan prevented Pierce from driving to the basket, forcing him to take a fadeaway jumper that clanged off the rim at the buzzer and the San Antonio Spurs held on for their ninth straight win, 87-86 over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.

"It was make or miss. I just didn't want him to go by me," said Duncan, who had 10 points and 16 rebounds. "To be honest with you, he probably got the shot he wanted."

Pierce had 15 points and 10 rebounds, but he couldn't maneuver into open space after Boston inbounded the ball with 7.9 seconds left. The 6-foot-11 Duncan stayed on him, forcing the 6-foot-7 Pierce to step back near the top of the key for a floater.

"I think I got to a good place. Just missed the shot," Pierce said. "These things are not really pre-scripted. You get into pressure situations, sometimes they make and sometimes they don't."

Danny Green scored 14 points, and Gary Neal had 13, including a 3-pointer with 2 minutes left that put the Spurs back in front after they blew a 17-point, first-half lead.

Rajon Rondo had 17 points and 11 assists for Boston, which had won five in a row.

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Avery Bradley scored 19 points off the bench for Boston, and Kevin Garnett had 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Ray Allen returned after missing six games with a sore right ankle and added seven rebounds and five points, including a 3-pointer in the final minute that brought Boston within a point.

Green missed for San Antonio and Garnett got the rebound, but the Celtics couldn't convert.

"We were trying to get a Duncan-on-Paul matchup because we thought we had the speed advantage," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "But his step-back is what he wants."

The Celtics trailed 77-70 with 8:20 left before scoring 13 of the next 17 points to take the lead.

San Antonio, which averaged 107 points in the first eight games of its winning streak, had 59 in the first half and 28 in the second.

"It was a tale of two halves," Bonner said. "We weren't as sharp and didn't make as many shots in the second half, but we still played good defense, we rebounded the ball, kept us in it and made a few plays down the stretch to pull out the win."

It was 36-all when the Spurs scored 12 consecutive points, including back-to-back 3-pointers from Matt Bonner. After Bradley snapped the string with a jumper, San Antonio rattled off another seven in a row to make it 55-38.

Boston cut it to 11 points by the end of the half and got within four in the third, holding the Spurs to nine points in the quarter. It was two points early in the fourth, and San Antonio led 77-70 before Garnett hit a pair of free throws, Rondo stole the ball and fed it to Bradley for a layup and then Garnett hit a layup to make it a one-point game.

Notes

  • Kentucky coach John Calipari was courtside, two days after winning the NCAA championship.
  • Pierce was the Eastern Conference's player of the month for March. He averaged 22 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists while leading the Celtics to a 12-5 record in the month.
  • The Spurs were 5 for 8 from 3-point range in the second quarter and 0 for 8 in the third.
  • All of San Antonio's points in the first quarter came in the paint.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Tim Duncan works the Celtics for 16 points and 10 rebounds to help the Spurs get their ninth straight win. (US Presswire)
Tim Duncan works the Celtics for 16 points and 10 rebounds to help the Spurs get their ninth straight win. (US Presswire)

Scoreboard
San Antonio (38-14) «273291987
Boston (30-23)2028162286
SA:D. Green 14 Pts
SA:T. Duncan 16 Reb
SA:G. Neal 4 Ast
BOS:A. Bradley 19 Pts
BOS:P. Pierce 10 Reb
BOS:R. Rondo 11 Ast
Players of the Game
San AntonioBoston

Tim Duncan

Rajon Rondo
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
1016117311
San Antonio
D. Green, SF366-130-041114
T. Duncan, PF344-122-4161110
T. Parker, PG325-140-012110
K. Leonard, SG180-20-01200
D. Blair, PF144-61-21019
S. Jackson, SF262-94-49208
M. Ginobili, SG252-61-12215
M. Bonner, PF214-90-0102110
G. Neal, SG205-90-034213
T. Splitter, PF144-60-06108
B. Diaw, PFDid Not Play
P. Mills, PGDid Not Play
J. Anderson, SGDid Not Play
C. Joseph, PGDid Not Play
Totals 36-868-115317887
 41.9%72.7% 
Boston
R. Rondo, PG448-150-2311217
R. Allen, SG352-60-07205
P. Pierce, SF357-160-0102415
K. Garnett, PF337-192-275116
B. Bass, PF293-63-67019
A. Bradley, PG349-161-110119
S. Pavlovic, SG132-30-21035
K. Dooling, PG100-20-01000
G. Stiemsma, C80-00-02100
J. O'Neal, CDid Not Play
M. Pietrus, SGDid Not Play
M. Daniels, SGDid Not Play
R. Hollins, CDid Not Play
J. Johnson, PFDid Not Play
E. Moore, SGDid Not Play
Totals 38-836-1339211286
 45.8%46.2% 
Other Games
Tor 99 Final
Phi 78
Ind 109 Final
Wash 96
Char 93 Final
Atl 120
Den 92 Final
NO 94
OKC 93 Final
Mia 98
Cle 98 Final
Mil 107
GS 97 Final
Min 94
Mem 85 Final
Dal 95
Pho 107 Final
Utah 105
NJ 88 Final
Port 101
LAL 113 Final
LAC 108