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Spurs win 15th in a row against Celtics

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Tony Parker seems to have found his offensive
spark.

The San Antonio point guard, who struggled with his shot early
in the season, scored a season-high 27 points on Sunday night to
lead the Spurs to a 107-90 victory over the Boston Celtics.

Parker went 11-for-17 from the floor, and is shooting 55 percent
over the past 15 games. In the Spurs' first 13 games, he managed
only 39 percent.

"I was rushing, you know, maybe forcing a lot of shots," said
Parker, who signed a $66 million contract extension in late
October. "Now I'm just taking my time and letting it come. The
more I am feeling comfortable, the more I want to take shots."

San Antonio built up several decisive leads during the game,
only to watch the tenacious Celtics scrap their way back into
contention.

Down by 15 to start the final period, Boston's last charge
pulled it within 92-84 on a 19-footer jumper by Ricky Davis with
nearly five minutes left.

But Bruce Bowen's third 3-pointer of the game and a driving
layup by Parker started a 12-4 run to seal the win.

"We had a lot of assists tonight (27), so that means we are
distributing the ball," Bowen said. "We understand that if you're
shooting wide-open shots, it's a lot better."

Devin Brown added 17 points, including four 3-pointers, for San
Antonio and Bowen finished with 15. Tim Duncan had 14 points and 11
rebounds to keep his perfect record against Boston intact. He
hasn't lost to the Celtics since they missed out on drafting him in
1997.

Davis led Boston with 21 points on 8-for-11 shooting, and Paul
Pierce scored 16.

The Celtics trailed 50-43 at halftime, but a 14-6 burst capped
by Gary Payton's layup helped Boston take its only lead of the game
at the 7:22 mark in the third.

The lead was short-lived, as Duncan hit a short bank shot over
Mark Blount on San Antonio's next trip down the floor to start an
11-0 burst by the Spurs that included three layups and a driving
finger roll by Parker.

"Our pick-and-roll defense is atrocious," said Celtics coach
Doc Rivers. "We worked on it this morning (during shootaround),
and it was almost like we didn't. Our defense is what has been
letting us down."

The Celtics went without a basket for five minutes before Raef
LaFrentz made his second 3-pointer and a dunk, but Brown hit a
31-footer at the third-quarter buzzer to extend the Spurs' lead to
81-66.

"We made a run, then we went flat again," said Payton, who
finished with 10 points. "We can't stop a team that penetrates
like they did, getting layup after layup."

San Antonio finished with 18 layups and outscored Boston 52-46
in the paint.

With the score tied at 11-all, the Spurs started their first
spurt of the evening, reeling off 10 straight points, beginning
with a corner 3-pointer by Bowen.

San Antonio extended its lead to 48-33 on a short bank shot by
Duncan with 3:43 remaining in the half.

That would be the Spurs' last basket before the break, while
Boston scored on four straight possessions -- including 3-pointers
by Jiri Welsch and Davis -- to trim the difference to seven at
halftime.<
^Notes:@The Celtics have dropped 14 straight in San Antonio. Their
last road win against the Spurs came Feb. 14, 1990, when they
overcame 32 points and 11 rebounds by then-rookie David Robinson.
... Davis is the NBA's leading scorer off the bench at 15.1 points
per game. ... The Celtics, averaging 101.6 points coming into
Sunday's game, are now 4-9 when scoring less than 100.