Celtics Live Blog: C’s Blown Out By Visiting Spurs in Second Half

Celtics Live Blog: C's Blown Out By Visiting Spurs in Second HalfFinal: Spurs 94, Celtics 73. And that's that. The Celtics finish up with a 13-point fourth quarter, looking absolutely dead against a Spurs team that came out hungry for another statement win over an Eastern Conference power.

For Boston, it's a tough setback in the middle of a pivotal home stand.

For San Antonio, it's the icing on the cake after beating Cleveland just two nights ago. Things are looking up for Gregg Popovich's Spurs.

Fourth quarter, 3:08, Spurs 90-67: Gotta admire the Spurs — they're playing like they want it more, plain and simple. Their defense has been nothing short of spectacular in this second half — they've held the Celtics to just 24 points in this second half, and 36.8 percent shooting from the field in the game overall. The Spurs look poised and ready to close this thing out.

Fourth quarter, 6:07, Spurs 84-67: We've hit a complete standstill in this game for both teams, with physical defense and bad shots being the name of the game. Paul Pierce is visibly frustrated, and he takes it out on George Hill with a hard foul before Doc yanks him from the game and throws Ray Allen back out there. The Celtics appear to have reached the end of their rope in this one. A frustrating second half, especially offensively, for the C's on their home floor.

Fourth quarter, 9:14, Spurs 84-66: You know it's bad when even Matt Bonner's getting wide-open looks and knocking down 3s. These Celtics have gone schizophrenic — listen to their coach, and he's talking all about executing defensively and getting stops. Watch their players, and they just look lazy. The Spurs are lighting it up, and down 18 with nine minutes to play, the Celtics look ready to close up shop.

End of third quarter, Spurs 77-60: The Spurs were already rubbing salt in the Celtics' wounds as the first quarter came to a close, but Manu Ginobili just had to add insult to injury. Driving past Paul Pierce and forcing a one-handed, off-balance bank shot for three, he knocks it down at the buzzer and stakes the Spurs to a 17-point lead at quarter's close. Twenty-four points now for Ginobili on 7-of-15 shooting, a superb night for the veteran shooting guard.

Third quarter, 3:16, Spurs 64-51: You have to admire Paul Pierce's toughness, battling through the banged-up shoulder and trying to stay in the game after his collision with Richard Jefferson and Manu Ginobili. But the captain does eventually come out, and Marquis Daniels, he of the month-long slump, takes the floor in his place. The Celtics really need Daniels to start playing well if they want any chance of getting back in this game.

Third quarter, 6:18, Spurs 58-48: And the Spurs go cold. Four straight missed field-goal attempts spells a scoring drought for San Antonio midway through the third — only problem is that Boston isn't doing that much to capitalize. It's surprising that Rondo isn't keeping it himself a little more often, driving to the basket for layups when he has the chance. The Celtics are settling for weak looks at the basket, and it's not getting them back in this game.

Third quarter, 9:14, Spurs 56-46: The Spurs are on fire yet again. It's a 12-3 run for San Antonio to start the half, with the C's getting their only scoring on a 3 from the corner by (gasp!) Rajon Rondo. Jefferson and Antonio McDyess are outworking Pierce and KG for buckets, which is a bad sign for the Celtics defensively.

Halftime, Spurs 44-43: Tim Duncan comes to life with a couple of buckets inside toward the end of the half, but he was silent for the first 22 minutes or so of this game. You can't help but be impressed that the Spurs have a lead despite getting so little offensively from their best player. Ginobili's got 16 points to lead the way, and Richard Jefferson and George Hill have each chipped in by knocking down a few shots. Despite trailing for the whole first quarter, the Spurs are now in front as they head to the locker room at halftime.

Second quarter, 3:28, Spurs 40-37: The Celtics keep jacking up those 3s, and they keep rimming out. As a team, they're now 1-of-8 from long range. They're trying to force their way back into this game rather hastily — it might work, but it's definitely not the safe route. Whatever happened to that "make the extra pass" mantra that Doc was bandying about?

Second quarter, 6:11, Spurs 37-30: This is one of those "you have to come back in the game" moments that Kevin Garnett was talking about after the Kings game on Friday night. The Spurs go on an 11-3 run against the Celtics' second unit, and Ginobili has a ridiculous 16 points already tonight. Doc Rivers rushes his starters back to action not a moment too soon. This game has taken a serious swing San Antonio's way.

Second quarter, 8:57, Celtics 27-26: With the Celtics' second unit on the floor, the Spurs are starting to let Manu Ginobili come alive. Eating up opposing teams' benches has always been his specialty — no exception here. Manu has been driving, scoring and even occasionally drawing contact against the C's backup guard tandem of Robinson and Michael Finley. A game-high nine points for Ginobili, 3-of-6 from the floor and 3-of-3 from the free-throw line.

End of first quarter, Celtics 23-19: You don't usually hear Doc Rivers telling his team to keep the pace up — at 91.8 possessions per game, the Celtics are one of the slower teams in the NBA. But in this matchup, against the 33-year-old Duncan and the 32-year-old Manu Ginobili, the Celtics might change the game plan. Look for them to go small a lot with Rondo, Nate Robinson and Glen Davis outworking the Spurs offensively. It's worked a little bit already, and the Celtics have the lead after one.

First quarter, 3:28, Celtics 17-13: Old, slow and not very agile? Yeah, this defense is a great matchup for Rajon Rondo. The C's point guard drives to the hole and gets a layup, keeping the Celtics well out in front and sending a wake-up call to George Hill. If the Spurs keep letting Rondo drive and score, they're going to see him do it a lot more tonight. Two points so far tonight for Rondo, but potentially a lot more to come.

First quarter, 6:03, 12-12: No dispute — Tim Duncan is one of the best defensive big men of all time. Absolutely. But the Celtics are showing that they're not afraid of him, with both KG and Rasheed Wallace taking it past Duncan to the hole. KG has a game-high six points to keep the Celtics going strong, but strong guard play has kept the Spurs in it. Manu Ginobili and George Hill are carrying the San Antonio offense.

First quarter, 9:06, Celtics 10-5: Two pieces of good news early for Paul Pierce. The first is that Richard Jefferson has picked up two quick fouls — with Jefferson out and Keith Bogans playing the three for San Antonio, the C's captain has a distinct size advantage. The other good news? He's on fire early. Not only has he piled up four points, driving the lane with ease, but he's showing great court vision, too. Nice dump to Kevin Garnett in the lane to make it 10-5 in favor of the men in green.

8:05 p.m.: The diagnosis on Kendrick Perkins is left knee tendinitis — Perk will be out for tonight's game against Tim Duncan and the Spurs. The good news, though, is that Nate Robinson is set to return from the ankle injury that hobbled him on Friday night against the Kings.

8 a.m.: In one corner, there's a battle-tested veteran team with a championship pedigree, jockeying for playoff position as it looks to make another run.

In the other corner, well … there's another one.

The Celtics and the Spurs meet up at the TD Garden on Sunday night with both teams needing to keep their winning ways about them as the playoffs near. The C's have won six of their last seven games; the Spurs have now won seven of their last 10, including a thriller on Saturday over the NBA-best Cavaliers.

Both teams know how to win. They've been proving it for years. On Sunday night, only one of them will.

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