Duncan Still Undefeated Against Celtics
San Antonio 103, Boston 82
BOSTON, Nov. 11 (Ticker) -- Tim Duncan still does not know what a loss to the Boston Celtics feels like.
Duncan collected 29 points and 12 rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs ran their winning streak over the Celtics to 16 games with a 103-82 triumph.
"We want to win games every year and we have been lucky enough to do it," Duncan said. "It's not something that we plan on coming in. We plan on coming in and winning the game, of course, but the streak is a streak and not because we specifically plan on (keeping it going)."
Boston rallied from a 16-point deficit to tie the game, 39-39, on a dunk by Paul Pierce with 3:32 left in the first half. But Duncan, making a rare start at center, snapped the tie with a 3-pointer just over a minute later and San Antonio led thereafter.
"We just stuck with our rotations more (in the second half)," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "In the first half, we had all three of our best players out at the same time and we tried some different combinations and suffered from it. So in the second half, when we started out well in the third quarter, we just substituted with a little bit more wisdom and not as much ignorance as the first half."
The Spurs took just a 47-44 edge into the break, but Bruce Bowen and Manu Ginobili opened the second half with back-to-back 3-pointers and the Spurs quickly pulled away, opening a 73-51 advantage on a fast-break layup by rookie Melvin Sanders with 4:17 left.
"I don't feel that we did anything different in the third quarter," Duncan said. "I just think they had a great (second) quarter. Paul and Ricky (Davis) really turned it up and hit some tough, contested shots.
"We stuck with what we were doing and kept contesting shots and it wore them down. We penetrated on (offense), we pushed the ball up the floor and we take what's there. It's also about not forcing shots or taking bad shots, and we do the same thing every night."
Bowen scored nine of his 12 points and Ginobili eight of his 11 in the period, which ended with the Spurs holding a commanding 81-59 cushion. San Antonio shot 71 percent (10-of-14) and Boston just 25 percent (5-of-20) in the quarter.
"We were more concentrated on understanding this team plays well at home," Bowen said. "They fought back to take it to the last second in their last two home games. We understood we had a letdown in the second quarter and that we didn't want to repeat that performance."
Pierce contributed 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics, who shot 44 percent (35-of-78) overall and allowed the Spurs to connect on 56 percent (40-of-79).
"We were frustrated by how hard it was to defend them," Pierce said. "They have so many weapons. They're a well-oiled machine. You have to come out and play (your) 'A' game to beat them. It has to be four quarters. I thought we only played one quarter of basketball, and against the San Antonio Spurs that's definitely not going to be good enough."
The Celtics, who had gone down to the wire in their first four games, suffered their first blowout loss of the season.
"Somebody asked me before the game if this was a measuring stick," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "If it is, then there's your answer. I didn't think it was (a measuring stick) before the game, to be honest."