Tony Parker had 26 points and Tim Duncan added 20 points and 15 rebounds to offset 22 points and 15 assists from Rajon Rondo as the Spurs beat the Celtics, 112-100, Wednesday night at TD Garden. The Celtics came within 90 seconds of becoming just the second NBA team in 25 years not to collect one offensive board. Brandon Bass collected the only one on the night on a putback. San Antonio was held without an offensive rebound in a 98-92 win over the Jazz on Jan. 23, 2002. Adding to their inside woes, the Spurs outscored the Celtics in the paint, 58-34.
The second straight loss dropped the Celtics back to .500 on the season at 6-6 while the Spurs improved to 9-3.
Jason Terry gave the Celtics an early boost, as he made 5-of-7 shots in the first half, scoring 10 of his 12 points in the opening quarter. Paul Pierce scored nine points jumped out to a 25-20 lead. The Spurs finished the first quarter on a 10-2 run to take a 30-27 lead.
The Spurs finished the second quarter on a 14-2 run to take a 56-48 lead to the locker room at the half. Parker dominated in the second quarter, scoring seven of his 15 first-half points in the second quarter as the Spurs took advantage of the Celtics desperate attempt to fix their inside game. Garnett had one rebound and four points in 16 minutes while Tim Duncan had nine rebounds and eight points, also in 16 minutes.
The Spurs outscored the Celtics 26-10 in the paint in the first half and led, 48-18, at one point.
Rondo's double-digit assist streak reached 35 games when he found Brandon Bass for a wide-open jumper on the left wing three minutes into the second half. Rondo is just 11 games behind Magic Johnson's record 46-game streak in 1983-84, and just two behind John Stockton's 37 straight games in 1989. Ironically, Rondo could tie Johnson on Dec. 15 when the Celtics visit San Antonio.
The Celtics fell behind 71-64 late in the third before Rondo hit a jumper from the top of the circle and Pierce followed with his first three of the night from the right wing, cutting San Antonio's lead to two, 71-69, with 4:27 left in the third. But the disturbing end-of-the-quarter trend continued as the Celtics were outscored 9-3 to end the third and trailed, 82-74, heading into the fourth.
The Celtics fell behind by 16, 94-78, before Rondo and Garnett answered to cut the deficit to 12 with 8:03 left. After San Antonio's 17th turnover, Rondo drilled a three to cut the lead to eight, 104-96, with just under four minutes left. Rondo drained another jumper with 3:15 left to make it a six-point game, 104-98. But Duncan answered with a jumper and the Spurs finished the game on an 8-2 run to close out the win.
The Celtics have Thanksgiving off before returning to action on Friday night at the Garden to take on Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. For complete coverage, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics and the Green Street blog.
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