Final: Celtics 105, Spurs 103. In unbelievable fashion, the Celtics have held on for a dramatic win over the Spurs. Manu Ginobili squares up and shoots for the win, and Paul Pierce comes up with a game-winning block. Rajon Rondo recovers the loose ball for his 10th rebound, finishing a triple-double at the buzzer.
Rondo gives the Celtics 12 points, 10 rebounds, 22 assists and six steals, only four takeaways away from a quadruple-double. Ray Allen finishes with 31 points, Glen Davis adds 23, and Paul Pierce chips in 18.
Manu Ginobili pours in 24 for the Spurs, but he would've loved three more.
The Celtics have earned a statement win over the NBA's top team, and they're now 27-7 on the season. The Spurs have lost back-to-back games for the first time, falling to 29-6.
The C's remain at home, where they'll take on the Toronto Raptors on Friday night.
Fourth quarter, 7.4 seconds, Celtics 105-103: A minute ago, this game was over. Now the Celtics are collapsing in catastrophic fashion.
The Spurs are on a 5-0 run, and Ray Allen just missed two free throws with a chance to seal the deal.
This is unreal.
Can the C's hold on?
Fourth quarter, 1:06, Celtics 103-96: In a battle of ageless veterans, two Celtic youngsters have stolen the show in crunch time.
Big Baby Davis has taken a lot of charges this season, but that might just be the most important one.
Rajon Rondo follows that up with a driving layup. Celtics by seven.
Is this thing over?
Fourth quarter, 1:37, Celtics 101-96: That possession could not possibly have gone better for the Celtics. They milk 22 seconds of the shot clock, and then Ray Allen drains a 3.
Ray's got 29 points, a game high. The Celtics can almost see their way from here to a huge, huge victory.
Timeout, Spurs. They need a quick bucket and a quick stop.
Fourth quarter, 1:43, Celtics 98-96: The Spurs are really clamping down defensively. They would love to get a stop here.
Paul Pierce is forced into a corner and the Celtics get off a timeout with eight seconds on the shot clock.
Can they get a quick insurance bucket?
Fourth quarter, 2:28, 96-96: Rajon Rondo comes up with a clutch rebound. It's his ninth of the game, bringing him to within one more board of a triple-double.
The C's will have the ball after this timeout — 2:28 left in a tie ballgame. Ever so slightly, they've got the upper hand.
Fourth quarter, 3:13, Celtics 96-94: Time for an O'Neal switch. O'Neal the younger has fouled out.
Six fouls in 21 minutes for Jermaine.
Manu Ginobili has two crucial shots here.
Fourth quarter, 4:01, 94-94: How many big shots is Glen Davis going to hit? This is incredible.
Big Baby is now 10-for-17 from the field for 23 points. He's been arguably the Celtics' best player in crunch time.
On a team like this, in a game like this, that's saying a lot.
Fourth quarter, 4:55, Spurs 92-90: One of the golden rules of closing out close games is "no fourth-quarter technicals." Both seasoned veteran teams have violated that rule already, with Paul Pierce and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich both being T'd up.
The Spurs have milked the extra free throws and gone on a 5-0 run to reclaim the lead.
Fourth quarter, 5:37, Celtics 90-87: Forget about the rivalry between Tim Duncan and Shaquille O'Neal. It was great while it lasted, but the torch has been passed. This game is about Rajon Rondo and Tony Parker.
Ten points, eight rebounds and 21 (yes, 21!) assists for Rondo. Sixteen, four and four for Parker. They're relentlessly going back and forth, and it's amazing to watch.
The C's have a three-point lead, but they can't take a thing for granted. This game will go down to the wire. It was meant to.
Fourth quarter, 6:37, Celtics 90-85: Well, this sure was unexpected. Manu Ginobili has hit back-to-back long jumpers for the Spurs, and guess what? Rajon Rondo has scored six straight to match him point for point.
Rondo is two rebounds shy of a triple-double.
Fourth quarter, 8:03, Celtics 84-82: Manu Ginobili drains a beautiful corner 3. It's a one-possession ballgame again.
You can never count the Spurs out. They're way too good.
Fourth quarter, 9:14, Celtics 79-77: Things are starting to get chippy, and the Spurs have made a 5-0 run to get back into the ballgame.
Jermaine O'Neal looks visibly rattled.
The Celtics have to know that they aren't winning this game without composure.
End of third quarter, Celtics 77-72: The Celtics have put together their best three-minute stretch of the ballgame, going on a 10-0 run to seize control of this game.
Paul Pierce caps it all off with a thunderous dunk in transition. He's now got 18 points and six boards.
The Celtics were just lying in wait, and now they've pounced. They're now in position to win this thing.
Third quarter, 3:01, 70-70: Every time you think the Celtics are starting to fade, someone comes up with a big shot. This time, it's the captain.
Paul Pierce drains a 3 from the top of the key. We're all tied up once more.
Pierce has seven points in this quarter for Boston; Tim Duncan has eight for San Antonio.
Just a couple of Finals MVPs going at it. You know how it is.
Third quarter, 4:18, 67-67: Rondo to Davis. Money. Again.
Rajon Rondo now has 18 assists, and Glen Davis has 19 points. Those two are playing like Stockton and Malone in their prime.
The Spurs have gotten a solid offensive third quarter from Tim Duncan to stay neck-and-neck with the Celtics.
Third quarter, 5:23, Spurs 65-63: The lead is swinging back and forth like a pendulum. Can either side string together some stops?
Rajon Rondo is piling up assists at an impressive rate. He's now got 16.
Ray Allen has 20 points, Glen Davis has 15 and Paul Pierce has 13.
The Celtics look like the more energetic team, understandable given the Spurs' schedule (back-to-back with the Knicks and C's). But the Spurs are hitting just enough timely jumpers to stay ahead. For now, anyway.
Third quarter, 7:03, Celtics 61-60: With impeccable ball movement, the C's get a layup for Glen Davis — and the lead again. That was just beautiful.
Credit Rajon Rondo with the assist. It's his 15th.
There's no doubt anymore that Rondo is healthy and playing like a superstar again, is there?
Third quarter, 9:31, 57-57: Ladies and gentlemen, the Celtics are back. Ray Allen hits a pair of jumpers to get the C's started in the second half — he's now 9-for-12 for 18 points. Paul Pierce drops four quick points too, and we're tied up.
You don't often see Ray with 18 points on nine FGs. That means he has zero free throws and zero 3-pointers.
Halftime, Spurs 51-49: Forget about defense — we're in for a rousing shootout between Ray Allen and Tony Parker. Right now Parker's Spurs have a slight edge.
Allen finishes the first half with 14 points, a game high, while Parker counters with 12 for the Spurs. But the Spurs' hold off Boston's late charge and maintain a two-point lead at the break, as Ray Allen misses a difficult jumper at the buzzer.
Glen Davis has 11 points for the Celtics, while Rajon Rondo has 11 assists. Not a bad half for three of the Celtics' starters.
We're still waiting on Shaquille O'Neal to be more of a factor, though. Keep an eye on him in the second half.
Second quarter, 2:55, Spurs 45-40: Looks like Hack-a-Shaq is working to a tee for the Spurs. Manu Ginobili just rammed into Shaquille O'Neal at the basket rather than give him a layup, and Shaq proceeded to miss both free throws. He's now 0-for-3 from the line.
The Celtics' execution has been really shaky in this second quarter. They're not getting good looks.
Second quarter, 5:13, Spurs 39-38: We're starting to get a little taste of what happens when Shaquille O'Neal plays like Shaquille O'Neal.
The big fella steamrolls Antonio McDyess and gets a layup; then he draws a foul and misses the free throw.
Yep, both parts of that sentence sound like vintage Shaq.
Second quarter, 7:33, Spurs 37-34: The Spurs have banged out a quick 7-0 run. The Celtics' second unit appears to be running out of steam.
The Celtics' depth is effective in short bursts, but they don't seem able to sustain it.
If Doc can get a solid seven minutes out of their starters to close this quarter, they can nip this Spurs surge in the bud.
Second quarter, 8:41, Celtics 34-30: Jermaine O'Neal has emerged as a go-to force in the low post in this second quarter. He's got four points and three boards. Who'd have thunk it?
The C's are giving the other O'Neal plenty of rest. Shaq played the first seven minutes of this game and has been on the bench since.
Second quarter, 10:14, Celtics 32-30: The C's get a scoring spark off the bench from Nate Robinson, who knocks down two jumpers for a quick five points to open the second quarter, but the Spurs respond.
Richard Jefferson gets a 3-point play. The Spurs are back within two.
The Spurs are looking to keep things close in this game while giving their veteran big three — Duncan, Parker, Ginobili — lots of rest. It's a risky ploy on Gregg Popovich's part.
End of first quarter, Celtics 27-25: Jermaine O'Neal beats the buzzer with a short jumper to put the Celtics up two at the end of the first quarter. Count the assist for Rajon Rondo, his eighth of the game.
Rondo and Ray Allen (10 points) have led the way for the Celtics so far, while the Spurs have gotten a solid, balanced team effort to hang around so far. Gary Neal leads the Spurs with seven points, but five of his teammates have also chipped into the effort.
The C's have a small lead. Can their second unit hold it and give the starters some rest?
First quarter, 2:40, Celtics 22-17: The Celtics have a nice lead early on, but they've got to be wary of the Spurs' 3-point shooters. If they don't work harder to limit their open looks, the C's could be in trouble later on.
The Spurs are only shooting 2-for-6 from long range, but if not for a couple of unlucky bounces, they'd be faring much better. These things tend to even out over the long run.
The Celtics have yet to contest a single jump shot really well. That's alarming.
First quarter, 5:26, Celtics 18-11: The Celtics' guards are absolutely killing it. Rajon Rondo just drained a smooth jumper from the elbow to put the Celtics up seven, off an assist from Ray Allen.
Two points and four assists for Rondo. Eight and three for Allen.
The Spurs are going to mix things up and try the younger duo of Gary Neal and George Hill against Boston's backcourt. Good luck to 'em.
First quarter, 8:10, Celtics 12-7: This is shaping up to be a good old-fashioned 3-point shootout. There's a simple reason why — neither team can be bothered to get out there and contest jumpers.
The C's make good on their first attempt from long range, a Paul Pierce jumper from the top of the key. The Spurs get three wide-open looks but only make one — one of the misses was a corner 3 from Tony Parker that hit the top side of the backboard. Embarrassing.
First quarter, 9:36, Celtics 7-4: Ray Allen breaks away and gets to the basket. Layup. Count it.
The Spurs are only down three, but they look lost defensively. Tony Parker isn't getting it done right now.
Gregg Popovich has called a timeout. He might want to consider sticking Parker on Rajon Rondo — the smaller, quicker guard is probably a better match.
First quarter, 10:16, Celtics 5-2: The C's have Ray Allen going early. Tony Parker has been a step slow to contest Ray's jumpers, and he's knocked down a pair of them. The Celtics' offense has come easy so far.
First quarter, 11:22, Celtics 1-0: The Spurs open the game with Tim Duncan guarding Shaquille O'Neal and DeJuan Blair sorta, kinda checking Glen Davis. Blair drifts off of Big Baby, and Baby gets to the basket and draws contact from Tim Duncan.
Baby makes one of two free throws. The Celtics have their first lead.
7:15 p.m.: It's been a busy night at the Garden, and the game hasn't even started yet. Here's a rundown…
–The Celtics have announced that they will in fact keep Von Wafer's non-guaranteed contract for the rest of this season. (Delonte West's, too, although that part was pretty much a given.)
–Both Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and C's coach Doc Rivers were quick to defend Pop's decision to bench his starters in the fourth quarter against the Knicks on Tuesday night. Both coaches shared the same sentiment — sometimes, you can just tell you're not going to win.
–Both coaches also commented on this week's gambling-related altercation between Grizzlies players Tony Allen and O.J. Mayo. Rivers flatly stated that he's "not going to babysit adults," while Popovich jokingly said that he allows no gambling during practice and "in games, only when we're up by 15 or more."
–Not much news to report on Kevin Garnett. Doc's original assessment was two weeks for KG's absence with a calf muscle injury, and that estimate hasn't changed.
5:45 p.m.: Welcome to the TD Garden, where the Celtics and Spurs face off Wednesday night in a battle of the top teams in each conference.
Stay tuned throughout the evening for updates. This will be a big game — the winner will gain bragging rights as the team to beat in the NBA this season.
8 a.m.: Ray Allen was asked Monday night to identify a key to doing something virtually no one's been able to do this season — beat the San Antonio Spurs. He came up with a good answer.
"We can't have a bad start," he said after some thought. "We can't come out and think that we'll get back in the game, that we'll slow-roll this. They've got the best record in the league for a reason."
Allen's right — against the Spurs on Wednesday night, there's no margin for error. The Celtics won't be able to sleepwalk through the first quarter and figure things out later. They can't waste a single possession, from the opening tip to the final buzzer.
The Celtics and Spurs tip off at the TD Garden at 7:30 p.m. The C's will need 48 solid minutes to knock off the titans of the Western Conference.
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