Manu Ginobili’s 28 Points Lead Spurs Past Sagging Celtics

Manu Ginobili's 28 Points Lead Spurs Past Sagging Celtics BOSTON — Manu Ginobili scored 28
points and Richard Jefferson had 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead the
San Antonio Spurs to a 94-73 victory over the Boston Celtics on Sunday
night.

The Spurs beat the Cleveland Cavaliers
and Celtics in consecutive games, and next go to New Jersey to play the
nine-win Nets on Monday.

Tim Duncan had eight points and nine
rebounds, and DeJuan Blair added seven points and 11 boards for the
Spurs, who have won 12 of 16 games to move into a three-way tie with Portland
and Oklahoma City for sixth place in the Western Conference.

Paul Pierce scored 18 points, and
Kevin Garnett had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Boston. It was the
Celtics' lowest point total of the season, their worst home loss of the
year and their third loss by 20 or more since Feb. 25.

Boston had won six of its last seven,
and seven of eight at home, apparently reversing a season-long slide
that led to concerns that the 2008 NBA champions had aged quickly. The
Celtics trailed just 44-43 at the half, but the Spurs scored the first 12
points of the second half and led by as many as 17 in the third
quarter.

With seven minutes left in the game,
the home crowd was booing the Celtics — an unusually common occurrence
lately — and with five minutes left the building was mostly empty.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers emptied his bench with four minutes to play,
and so did San Antonio's Gregg Popovich.

Since moving into the starting lineup
to replace Tony Parker, who missed his 12th straight game with a broken
hand, Ginobili has averaged 24 points. He had 16 points at the half and
eight more in the third quarter, when he hit a running, one-handed,
25-foot bank shot at the buzzer to give the Spurs a 77-60 lead.

The game got rough at times — at least
for the Celtics.

Garnett hit the floor hard after
Ginobili blocked his shot in the second quarter. The Celtics forward
landed on his back, but he soon got up and held his fingers to his ears
to encourage the crowd to cheer.

In the third, Pierce went to the
floor after he was fouled driving the lane. He stayed down for a while
before getting up and rubbing his right shoulder while wincing in pain.

He was able to shoot the free throws,
but he missed the first, and a minute later he was on the bench talking
to the medical staff again.

Notes
It was Michael Finley's first
game against the Spurs since they released him on March 1, allowing him
to sign with Boston. He was scoreless. … San Antonio's next loss will
tie its most in a season since going 53-29 in 1999-00, its worst season
since drafting Duncan in 1997. … The Celtics and Spurs are now 38-38
in their all-time series, 19-19 in Boston. … San Antonio's only losses
in March were to Cleveland, Atlanta, Orlando and the Los Angeles
Lakers. … It was Garnett's third consecutive double-double. … Rajon
Rondo
made a highlight-reel cut through Duncan and Matt Bonner in the
first quarter for a layup.

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