Rajon Rondo, Celtics Hold Off Sloppy Spurs on Road 90-83


December 4, 2009

Rajon Rondo, Celtics Hold Off Sloppy Spurs on Road 90-83 Both the Celtics and the Spurs planned to use Thursday night's matchup as a measuring stick for their success so far this season.

By that logic, the Spurs have a little more work to do than the Celtics.

Boston withstood a 12-4 run toward the end of the fourth quarter to trump San Antonio 90-83 for its sixth straight win, halting the Spurs' own streak at five. Kevin Garnett paced the Celtics with 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Rajon Rondo had 12 points, 12 assists and six rebounds. Paul Pierce had a quiet night by his standards, tallying just eight points on 2-for-9 shooting.

Pitt alum DeJuan Blair led the Spurs with 18 points and had 11 rebounds, while Tim Duncan finished with 16 points and 15 boards. Manu Ginobili chipped in with 11 points off the bench.

Celtics 90, Spurs 83
Dec. 3, 2009
AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas

Live Blog | Box Score | Recap

Headliners: Rajon Rondo had a perfect Rajon Rondo night: 12 points, 12 assists, three steals and just three turnovers in 36 minutes. Not surprisingly, it once again led to a Celtics win. Kevin Garnett was the lone member of the Big Three who stood out against the Spurs, shooting 9-of-15 from the floor for 20 points.

Unsung Hero: The Spurs are perhaps the only team in the NBA with a deeper, stronger bench than the Celtics, and it showed. Reigning Big East Co-Player of the Year DeJuan Blair led all Spurs scorers with 18 points on 9-for-11 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds in just 22 minutes. Manu Ginobli posted 11 points and three assists, while rookie George Hill added nine points and two steals.

Aside from Rasheed Wallace, who tallied 13 big points off the bench, the Celtics' reserves were quiet.

Scrub: Any hope the Spurs had of winning this game was completely shattered by too many turnovers, particularly in the all-important third quarter, when the Celtics typically nail their opponents' coffin shut. San Antonio committed eight turnovers in the third period, including four in a 3 1/2-minute span that helped the Celtics maintain a lead into which the Spurs had just started cutting before halftime. The Spurs committed 19 total giveaways, and Tim Duncan was responsible for six of them. 

The Spurs were also abysmal from the charity stripe, hitting just seven of 17 attempts (41.2 percent). 

To be fair, the Celtics weren't perfect; in fact, they were pretty horrendous from beyond the arc, going just 4-for-18. Nobody sunk more than one trey, aside from Rasheed Wallace, who was 2-for-5.

Key Moment: The Celtics set the tone with a strong first quarter and took advantage of the Spurs' sloppy, slow start. The Green went on a 10-0 run early in the frame, but they never had an overwhelming advantage despite the Spurs missing their final six shots toward the end of the period. With 1:22 left, Rasheed Wallace provided an early highlight, finishing off an old-fashioned three-point play that extended Boston's lead to 23-14.

Then, to add insult to injury, C's reserve Brian Scalabrine took a desperation 3 as the shot clock expired. It missed, but the rebound was inadvertently tipped in by DeJuan Blair. (Oddly, Marquis Daniels was awarded the two points despite the fact that he was nowhere near the ball.) As a result, Boston earned an 11-point advantage, its largest of the game to that point.

Up Next: The Celtics get right back into action on Friday night at Oklahoma City. Following Wednesday's 117-106 win over the 76ers, the Thunder improved to 10-8, good for fourth place in the Northwest Division. Entering Thursday night's action, they sat three games behind Denver for the lead.

Former Texas phenom Kevin Durant leads the team in points (27.7), rebounds (7.1) and steals (1.7) in 39.3 minutes per game. The Thunder will be without guard Kyle Weaver, who underwent shoulder surgery on Nov. 30 and will miss four months, and could be without forward Nick Collison, who hurt his knee in Monday's practice but still managed to play in Wednesday's win over Philadelphia.

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