Spurs get back on winning track with win over Celtics

The San Antonio Spurs (19-6) erased a two-game slide versus the Boston Celtics (12-11) tonight in San Antonio 103-88 despite having Manu Ginobili suffering a left thigh contusion and Tim Duncan having an off game offensively shooting 2-13 from the field.

The Spurs were paced by Tony Parker with 22 points, 8 assists, 3 rebounds and 4 steals. Boston was led by Paul Pierce with 18 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.

Here is a quarter-by-quarter recap:

First Quarter Stat Leader: Tony Parker with 8 points, 2 assists, 1 rebound

First Quarter Recap: Early on it was the Tim Duncan versus Kevin Garnett show as both players were tussling quite much. The game was nip-and-tuck early on with both teams exchanging baskets. Both teams were also getting to the paint easily. Manu Ginobili got hit on the knee late in the first quarter and walked off with a limp. He left the court and headed straight to the locker room. Jason Terry nailed a last second shot to close the quarter.

First Quarter Score: Spurs 26, Celtics 21.

Second Quarter Stat Leader: Gary Neal with 12 points, 1 steal, 1 assist

Second Quarter Recap:

Spurs couldn't get offense going with a lineup of Diaw, Splitter, De Colo, Mills and Green which lent to Boston closing the gap. Spurs called a timeout very early.  Spurs settled down and were able to stop the Celtics run. Paul Pierce got going late in the second to bring back Boston to tie the game. However, the Spurs would take a slim lead heading into halftime.

Halftime Score: Spurs 52, Celtics 49.

Third Quarter Stat Leader: Neal with 17 points, 2 assists, 3 rebounds.

Third Quarter Recap: 

Boston tied the game up early in the quarter at 55 but a timely three-point shots by Danny Green and Neal once again separated the two teams. However, Boston would not just go away as the Celtics kept it close for most of the quarter. Then momentum started to go San Antonio as the team built up an 11 point lead with three minutes left in the third quarter. 

Third Quarter Score: Spurs 77, Celtics 69.

Fourth Quarter Stat Leader: 

Fourth Quarter Recap:  Spurs ramped up their defense and kept Boston at arms-length despite Tim Duncan having a horrible shooting night. San Antonio began to separate themselves from Boston thank to timely shots by Parker which built an 11 point lead for the Spurs midway through the quarter. But the Spurs depth proved too much for Boston down the stretch of the game.

Final Score: Spurs 103, Celtics 88.

Notes:

Spurs outscored the Celtics in the fourth quarter 26-19.

Rajon Rondo had an off night with 6 points, 9 assists, and 5 rebounds.

Spurs and Celtics were tied in points in the paint with 38 a piece.

Despite having an off game offensively, Duncan grabbed 12 rebounds.

Spurs and Celtics made exact same shots (38), grabbed exact same rebounds (38) & both scored same points in the paint (38).

Quotes:

Popovich on the game vs. Boston: "We kept our composure and had a lot of guys play well. The bench was real big for us."

Popovich on Nando De Colo: "Nando is a really intelligent player. He's not going to jump out of the gym and be on ESPN for dunking or anything like that, but he moves the ball at the right times."

Popovich on De Colo: "He's really gaining confidence and doing a good job for us."

Parker on the second half: "I thought we played better. Better defensively. First half we gave up a lot of three's. We had a hard time to keep our lead."

Parker on Spurs winning despite not having Duncan's offensive contribution: "Our bench is a lot better."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers on loss to Spurs: "They went into the fourth quarter with six total fouls. That means they are one heck of a defensive basketball team."

Celtics' Rivers on team fatigue: "I honestly thought we got fatigued. That's something I said in the game and this morning that we're going to have to work on getting in a little better shape."

Celtics' Garnett on fourth quarter by San Antonio: "Teams make adjustments to what you are doing. They do a good job of moving the ball. They have shooters."

Celtics' Garnett on Spurs' second half adjustments: "In the second half, defensively they made some adjustments and made some shots. We never recovered from it."

Celtics' Pierce on team shots: "We had good looks that just didn't go down."

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