"their defense turned the Spurs into one-on-one players"-Globe
Final, Celtics 107-97: The Celtics never were seriously threatened down the stretch by the Spurs and cruise to a 10-point victory in perhaps their biggest win of the season. Rajon Rondo was stellar with 22 points and 14 assists while Kevin Garnett added 20 points and nine rebounds while Paul Pierce added 21 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists. Tony Parker finished with 23 points, 4 rebounds and 8 assists while Tim Duncan finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds.
Fourth quarter, 1:29, Celtics 103-92: Kevin Garnett has been silky with his jumper and the Celtics are closing in on one of their bigger wins of the season and believe it or not, the win would actually help the Lakers, who are chasing the Spurs for the top seed in the West.
Fourth quarter, 2:40, Celtics 97-89: The Celtics are desperately trying to hold on as the Spurs go to Tim Duncan down the stretch. He has scored six straight points and is going to the line for one more. He and Tony Parker have 19 points. Rajon Rondo is playing a stellar game offensively with 22 points and 12 assists while Paul Pierce has 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Fourth quarter, 5:30, Celtics 89-80: Boston has had its chances to create some real distance but they haven't scored in more than two minutes. The Spurs aren't much better with two points in that span but the Celtics will need offensive execution down the stretch. The Spurs have no fouls to give and the Celtics have one to give.
Fourth quarter, 8:53, Celtics 84-76: Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is playing with a strange lineup in key stretches. No Tony Parker or Tim Duncan, instead going with Tiago Splitter and George Hill and no changes after a timeout. The Celtics are trying to become tougher in the fourth quarter. Rajon Rondo has a double-double, 20 points and 11 assists.
End of third quarter, Celtics 77-70: Perhaps the Celtics' best quarter since the trade because their defense turned the Spurs into one-on-one players instead of jump shooters and Jeff Green went to work on his matchup with Matt Bonner, scoring six points in the quarter. Paul Pierce has 19 points and nine rebounds.
Third quarter, 2:21, Celtics 73-67: The Celtics are playing mad again, which is a good thing, especially for Rajon Rondo. Rondo has been a different player since Ray Allen chewed him out for focusing on arguing a non-call instead of sticking with Tony Parker, who scored and was fouled. Rondo has 18 points, 9 assists and 5 rebounds while Parker has 19, 6 and 2.
Third quarter, 8:21, Celtics 59-56: San Antonio scored the first five points of the quarter but the determined Celtics have stormed back behind Paul Pierce and a short jumper from Ray Allen. The Celtics will have to go on without Nenad Krstic who badly bent his right knee and is out for the game.
Halftime, tied at 49: The Celtics hold San Antonio to 16 points in the secodn period on 7-for-24 shooting (29 percent) but they missed too many easy shots and now are even. Paul Pierce has 13 points, Kevin Garnett 10 and Rajon Rondo has 10 for Boston. Tony Parker has 14 for San Antonio.
Second quarter, 2:19, Spurs 47-45: The Celtics defense is beginning to respond as San Antonio is 6-for-19 shooting in the quarter and they are doing a lot of passing because there aren't many open shooting areas. Eight Spurs have scored, including Richard Jefferson with eight. Ray Allen has yet to score in 18 minutes but has two free throws coming.
Second quarter, 4:56, Spurs 44-41: The Celtics are almost even in the rebounding battle but they are still giving too many easy layups. The Spurs have 24 of their 44 points in the paint and have hit four 3-pointers. Tim Duncan has six points and eight rebounds. Rajon Rondo has 10 points and three assists and just picked up a frustration technical.
Second quarter, 8:39, Spurs 38-33: The Celtics are taking San Antonio's best shot and still staying close and if they could grab one defensive rebound, they may be able to rally. Paul Pierce has 11 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Kevin Garnett picked up two early fouls and has two points. Tony Parker is vintage TP and has 12 points and four assists.
End of first quarter, Spurs 33-31: Somebody's got to take the torch out of Tony Parker's hands. HE's got 12 points and four assists already. He's 4 for his first five. And he's giving Doc Rivers a massive headache. Another reason for the migrane: second-chance points. San Antonio's got 11 of them. They're only outrebounding the Celtics by a single board, but they've got five offensive rebounds.
First quarter, 4:22, Spurs 21-17: Jermaine O'Neal stepped on the floor for the first time in more than two months, and walked straight into what feels like a playoff game. Welcome back. Tony Parker carved through the Celtics defense for a pair of lay-ups that forced Doc Rivers to call a timeout.
First quarter, 6:17, tied 15-15:A lot of power punches thrown in the early going. Once second, Tim Duncan's grabbing an offensive rebound and touch passing to Antonio McDyess for a dunk. The next, Paul Pierce is driving hard on Manu Ginobili, then kicking to Rajon Rondo who then dishes to Glen Davis for a wide-open 16-footer. The Celtics made 7 of their first 13 shots. The Spurs are 5 for their first 10.
Pregame: All the usual suspects are on the floor for the Spurs. They know a big game when it pops up on the schedule.<http://www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/extras/celtics_blog/2011/03/live_celtics_at_21.html>