Parker leads way as Spurs down Celtics for eighth straight win
SAN ANTONIO (AP)
Although the San Antonio Spurs seem rather methodical and downright boring to some, they are enjoying themselves this season and that is ruining the fun for others.
Tony Parker scored 19 points before sitting out the fourth quarter and the Spurs beat the Boston Celtics 104-93 Wednesday night, winning their eighth straight overall and remaining undefeated at home.
San Antonio had 27 assists and six players score in double figures, rallying from a lethargic start to lead by as many as 19 points in the second half.
''Those moments when we start to play better `D,' push the ball and be more aggressive, then it's fun to watch, it's exciting and that's what we need,'' San Antonio guard Manu Ginobili said. ''We are not exciting in a way that we're going to have alley-oops and windmills (dunking) and stuff like that, but we pass the ball really well. We penetrate and pitch, and everybody gets involved and that's fun.''
Kawhi Leonard had 16 points and Tim Duncan rebounded from a poor outing in San Antonio's previous home game to score 13 points. Boris Diaw had 12 points, Tiago Splitter added 11 points and 10 rebounds and Danny Green 11 points for the Spurs (10-1).
San Antonio shot 48 percent from the field and was 8 for 21 on 3-pointers as Boston struggled to close on the Spurs' shooters.
''Phew,'' Celtics forward Jared Sullinger said, exhaling when asked about the Spurs' ball movement. ''They're a tough team to play. On any given night, anybody can go off. Honestly, they move the ball. They care less about scoring; they play together as a team.
''They have go-to players but they hardly ever use them because they move the ball so well and they play as a team, so they're hard to guard.
There were 10 lead changes and 14 ties in the first half, as neither team was able to sustain any momentum.
While the Spurs weren't happy with the early efforts, first-year coach Brad Stevens was pleased with the Celtics forging a 48-all tie at the half.
''The team that played tonight could be a really fun group to build with,'' Stevens said. ''I think that's what you take from here. We talked about this early in the year. There's going to be nights where we measure progress a little bit differently.''
That progress was stunted in the second half, as San Antonio was able to pull away midway through the third quarter behind strong individual efforts by Leonard, Parker and Ginobili.
Leonard keyed the resurgence, scoring 10 of 12 points, including a 3-pointer that put San Antonio ahead 61-52 with 8 minutes left in the quarter.
''He can do that kind of thing,'' Diaw said. ''He is really talented and he proved that already last year. This year is no different. Sometimes, when he gets it going, it is going to be very hard to stop (him).''
Leonard had 12 points, five rebounds and two steals in the third quarter, as San Antonio outscored Boston 32-22.
''I'm still having fun; that's why I'm still playing,'' Leonard said. ''We're winning, you can't have more fun than that, when you're winning and on a good team.''
Parker made two dazzling layups, first presenting the ball with his right hand to draw a defender out of the lane and spinning back for a layup between defenders and then spinning away from a defender in the lane for a layup on the right side of the basket.
Ginobili literally wrapped a pass around a defender, tossing behind around a charging Brandon Bass to find Diaw cutting to the basket for a layup. Ginobili finished with five points and six assists.
After scoring only two points in the Spurs' previous home game against Washington, Duncan made the game's first two baskets as the team targeted him early. He finished 3 for 13, but was 7 for 8 on free throws while also grabbing nine rebounds.
NOTES: San Antonio is tied with Indiana for the league's best record, but its victories have come against teams with a combined winning percentage of .408 entering Wednesday's games. Only two the Spurs' wins have come against teams above .500. Their only loss was against Portland, which is 10-2 after defeating Milwaukee. . . . Boston's Keith Bogans was not with the team due to an undisclosed illness. . . . San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich was issued a technical foul with 4 minutes left in the game after haranguing referee David Guthrie continually for a lack of calls. Popovich smiled, appearing amused by the technical. . . . The Big Three of Duncan, Parker and Ginobili have played 629 games together, which is the most amongst active teammates and fifth all-time. The trio surpassed Derek Harper, Brad Davis and Rolando Blackman of the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday and trail the leading trio of Robert Parrish, Kevin McHale and Larry Bird by 100 games played together.