8:00 PM ET, December 3, 2009
AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
But the Celtics are on a roll, right?
"We've got a little rhythm," Garnett said.
• The Celtics have won six straight games.
• Boston's two offensive rebounds tied the fewest for a winning team this season.
• After losing the previous 18 meetings, the Celtics improved to 5-1 against the Spurs.
-- ESPN Stats & Information
Garnett scored 20 points and the Celtics improved to an NBA-best 8-1 away from home, beating the San Antonio Spurs 90-83. They'll wrap up a four-game road swing Friday at Oklahoma City, when the Celtics will go for a season-best seventh consecutive win.
"That's the make or break of the trip," Celtics forward Rasheed Wallace said. "It'll be a downer if we don't go in there tomorrow and come out with a W."
San Antonio also had won five in a row, but the Celtics came away with what Spurs coach Gregg Popovich acknowledged was a bit of a litmus test. Of the nine teams San Antonio has beaten this season, only four had winning records entering Thursday.
Rookie DeJuan Blair had a career-high 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who will get another test against a division leader Saturday against Denver.
The Spurs committed 18 turnovers, shot a season-worst 7 of 17 from the free-throw line and made just 2 of their 16 attempts from behind the 3-point line.
"It's one of those bad games," Spurs guard Tony Parker said.
Boston matched its longest winning streak of the season, when the Celtics started 6-0. Only the Los Angeles Lakers, who've won seven straight, have a longer streak going.
Rajon Rondo had 12 points and 12 assists, and the point guard came up big for the Celtics down the stretch. Rondo's jumper with 2 minutes left pushed the lead to 87-81, and he later stripped Tony Parker during a layup attempt that would have cut Boston's lead to one possession.
Ray Allen had 15 points for Boston, which never trailed after seizing the lead in the first minutes of the game.
"Guys are locked in, it's a great focus right now," Celtics center Kendrick Perkins said. "Guys came on this road trip to get wins."
Tim Duncan had 16 points and 15 rebounds, and teaming with Blair, the Spurs dominated the Celtics on the boards 55-32. Blair was 9 of 11 from the field, but his boundless energy under the rim also inadvertently gave the Celtics a basket.
After Brian Scalabrine missed a 3-pointer in the first quarter, Blair bounced up for the rebound -- then promptly shot the ball into his own basket.
"That sums it up right there," Spurs guard George Hill said. "Things weren't going our way tonight."
Asked in the locker room about the bucket he scored for Boston, Blair went silent for several seconds. Then he broke into a smile and said, "I tried to grab it with one hand but I should have grabbed it with two. That's never happened to me before."
It was one of a perhaps a couple costly gaffes for the Spurs. Michael Finley hit a corner 3-pointer with 12.9 seconds left that might have kept the Spurs alive, but he fired with his foot out of bounds.
Popovich confessed before the game that the Celtics presented an early benchmark for the Spurs, who have started to come around after a sluggish 4-6 start. San Antonio pulled together a five-game win streak while playing just two teams, Houston and Milwaukee, with winning records.
Parker finished with 17 points and seven assists, and Manu Ginobili had 11 points.
Celtics F Glen Davis had the cast and pins removed from his broken right hand Thursday, but he'll be fitted for another to wear about two more weeks. Davis has not played yet this season. ... The Spurs had a season-high 20 offensive rebounds.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||36-78 (.462)||37-88 (.420)|
|3PM-3PA||4-18 (.222)||2-16 (.125)|
|FTM-FTA||14-19 (.737)||7-17 (.412)|
|Fast Break Points||12||12|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||20 (0/0)||23 (0/0)|