BOSTON (AP) -- With all their talent, the San Antonio Spurs don't
need an extra push to beat the Celtics. They got it anyway from
their desire to extend their eight-year winning streak over Boston.
Tim Duncan had 29 points and 12 rebounds and the Spurs pulled
away in the third quarter for their 16th consecutive win over the
Celtics, 103-82 Friday night.
"It's the same thing every time we come here," San Antonio
guard Tony Parker said. "Tim has never lost (to Boston) and
neither have I. It gives us extra motivation."
The Spurs never trailed and were threatened only in the second
quarter when the Celtics cut a 26-13 deficit to 47-44 at halftime.
Then Bruce Bowen hit all three of his 3-point shots in the first
seven minutes of the third quarter, leading the defending champions
to a 73-51 lead with 4:15 left in the period.
They led by at least 18 points the rest of the way.
"I don't feel we did anything different in the third quarter,"
Duncan said. "I think they just had a great (second) quarter."
The Celtics' third quarter, though, was horrible. They were
outscored 34-15 and trailed 81-59 going into the fourth.
"When they got up right in the third quarter, we just succumbed
to the lead and gave in," said Boston coach Doc Rivers, who gave
his team an unusually long post-game talk. "And I don't like teams
that give in."
Duncan has never lost to the Celtics since being drafted with
the first pick in 1997. The Celtics' last win over the Spurs was on
Jan. 8, 1997, in Boston, 107-83. Since then, 11 of San Antonio's 16
wins have been by at least 10 points.
"The streak is a streak and not because we specifically plan on
doing that," Duncan said. "It doesn't matter who we play. It
doesn't matter who is out on the floor. We always do the same
It was the first lopsided outcome this season for the Celtics
(2-3), who played in two overtime games and two games decided on
baskets at the buzzer.
San Antonio needed just 4½ minutes to turn their three-point
halftime edge into a 16-point lead.
"We deflated a little bit" after that, Pierce said. "Us not
playing defense really forces us to rush our shots on offense,
thinking we're going to get it all back on one play."
Bowen and Manu Ginobili began the third quarter with consecutive
3-pointers. After Mark Blount hit a free throw for Boston, Ginobili
sank two free throws and Bowen hit another 3-pointer for a 58-45
lead with 9:14 left in the third.
Pierce followed with two free throws, then San Antonio got the
next five points. Delonte West finally made Boston's first basket
of the quarter with 7:19 to go before Pierce's layup cut the lead
Then the Spurs got the next 10 points for a 73-51 lead and
stayed ahead by at least 19 the rest of the way.
"They're a better basketball team than us," Rivers said, "but
that doesn't mean that we can't beat them."
The Spurs were much better Friday night.
"We had a big lead, but they hurt us in transition in the
second quarter," Parker said. "We did a great job to build the
lead back up."
^Notes:@ Former Boston Bruins player Cam Neely, seated in the front
row beside comedians Denis Leary and Lenny Clarke, received a
standing ovation when he was introduced late in the first half.
Neely was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame last Monday. ...
Tom Brady and Richard Seymour of the New England Patriots also
attended. ... The Spurs are 3-1 on a road trip that ends Saturday
night at Washington. basketball again. It's good to be out there."