Celtics 90, Spurs 83
Boston led by 12 points as late as the 8:12 mark of the fourth quarter, but there was still a feeling in the air indicating that those crafty Spurs would somehow make a run. Beginning at the 8:11 mark, that run began.
Tony Parker hit an 18-foot jumper, and the comeback was on. The Spurs scored six consecutive points while the Celtics went scoreless for nearly two minutes. San Antonio's run was led by one of their least likely sources, rookie power forward DeJuan Blair. He scored eight straight San Antonio points and cut the lead to 85-81 with 2:47 remaining. The lead fluctuated to six once again, but then a Richard Jefferson jumper cut it back down to four.
Boston came back down court and found Kevin Garnett, who has been on fire for more than a week now, open for a deep jumper from the top of the key. But KG missed the shot, Blair grabbed the rebound and outletted to Parker with less than 30 seconds remaining on the clock. The ensuing play was do-or-die, with the Spurs making it a one-possession game or the Celtics maintaining control. Parker streaked down the court while Rajon Rondo trailed him from behind. As Parker moved the ball from his hip and began his layup attempt, Rondo's instinctively-quick hand swept across the ball, knocking it off Parker's leg and out of bounds.
With 26 seconds remaining in the game, Boston now had possession with a four-point lead. Free throws down the stretch iced it, but if Rondo hadn't knocked that ball away, who knows what might have happened.
Key Box Score Line
Rajon Rondo may have made the play of the game defensively, noted above, but he produced a whole lot more than that. He was he definition of a box-score-stuffer tonight. He shot the ball well, safely distributed the ball to his teammates, crashed the boards and was an absolute ball hawk on defense.
Box Score Nuggets
- Kevin Garnett continued his red-hot shooting, making nine of his 15 shot attempts en route to a game-high 20 points.
- Two Spurs starters (Keith Bogans and Antonio McDyess) were held scoreless, while another (Richard Jefferson) scored only six points.
- Rajon Rondo finished the night with three steals and a critical blocked shot.
- Marquis Daniels was credited with two points when DeJuan Blair tipped a defensive rebound into Boston's basket.
- Paul Pierce scored eight points for the second consecutive game.
- Every San Antonio starter had a negative +/- rating, while four bench players had positive ratings.
- To the contrary, every Boston starter had a positive +/- rating, while every bench player had a negative rating.
- The Spurs grabbed a whopping 55 rebounds to the Celtics' 32. Twenty of those rebounds came at the offensive end.
- San Antonio finished with 20 assists, but also committed 19 turnovers.
- Rasheed Wallace scored 13 points off the bench for Boston.
- The teams combined to shoot 6-of-34 from 3-point range.
- The Spurs had the aforementioned 20 offensive rebounds, but Boston had only two.
- Boston's bench committed only two turnovers, but the Spurs' bench was forced into eight.
Quote of the Night
DeJuan Blair on tipping the ball into Boston's basket for two points: "I tried to grab it with one hand but I should have grabbed it with two. That never happened to me before. I should have grabbed it with two... that's what I get."