Rapid reaction: Spurs 112, Celtics 100
THE NITTY GRITTY
Tiago Splitter ate the Celtics up around the basket while scoring 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting off the Spurs' bench. Tony Parker added a team-high 26 points, while Tim Duncan chipped in 20 points and 15 rebounds to pace San Antonio. Rajon Rondo did his best to will Boston back into the game with a 22-point, 15-assist effort, but the Spurs kept Boston at arm's length much of the night. Paul Piece scored 19 points (but didn't grab a rebound), while Brandon Bass added 16 points and 6 rebounds as Boston got little in production from its bench (only 17 points from the reserves).
The Spurs put together a little burst late in the third quarter to carry an eight-point lead into the final frame. Splitter produced a pair of layups and Manu Ginobili added a patented "how did he sneak that in?" layup of his own as the Spurs opened an 82-74 lead. Gary Neal buried a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter and that lead ballooned to double digits. A Rondo-fueled burst with under four minutes to play pulled Boston within six, but the Spurs regrouped and let Boston get no closer.
THE STREAK REACHES 35
Rondo opened the second half with five assists over the first 3:09 to prolong his double-digit assist streak. Rondo's run now sits at 35 straight games, which is third best all-time behind only John Stockton (37) and Magic Johnson (46).
AN OFFENSIVE MOMENT AVOIDED
The Celtics nearly became only the second team over the past 25 seasons to be shut out on the offensive glass. With 90 seconds remaining, Brandon Bass registered the team's first -- and only -- offensive rebound with a tip-in. The Spurs won the battle on the glass 41-25 overall and turned six offensive rebounds into 14 second-chance points. The only team to endure the shutout over the past quarter century: the Spurs, back on Jan. 23, 2002, against the Utah Jazz. Alas, the Spurs still won that game, 98-82.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics (6-6) shot 53.2 percent from the floor, but could do nothing to stop the Spurs, who shot a whopping 58.4 percent (45-of-77) and produced a whopping 58 points in the paint (Boston registered only 34). A now-.500 Boston squad can lick its wounds on Turkey Day before another Western Conference power visits on Friday, when the Oklahoma City Thunder invade the Garden.
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