NBA Game Summary - San Antonio at Boston
(Sunday, March 28th)
Final Score: San Antonio 94, Boston 73
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Manu Ginobili scored 28 points and dished out seven assists, and the Spurs limited Boston to 30 points in the second half in a surprising 94-73 rout at TD Garden.
Richard Jefferson totaled 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who not only held Boston to a season-low in scoring, but also moved into a virtual tie with Oklahoma City and Portland for the sixth spot in the Western Conference. The three teams are seemingly headed to the playoffs as ninth-place Memphis has fallen 6 1/2 games off the pace. The Grizzlies have just nine games left to make up the difference.
George Hill scored 15 for the Spurs, who have won back-to-back games against Cleveland and the Celtics and 12 of their last 16 overall.
"We are very steady now, as I said we are hustling a lot," Ginobili said of the team's defense. "We have guys going hard to the rebounds. We know better what to do, when to do it. That's a big key, at the beginning we were kind of confused and weren't executing well and now we are just following the game plan better."
Paul Pierce scored 18 for Boston, which had won six of its last seven contests. The Celtics, who ended 1-of-14 from three-point range, fell into a tie with Atlanta for third in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks have the tiebreaker by virtue of sweeping the season series against the Celtics.
It also marked the worst home loss of the year for the Celtics, who ended 37 percent from the field. Kevin Garnett ended with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
"I just think we were just flat, we weren't aggressive," Garnett said. "I thought we put a lot on Paul to score the ball. I don't think the ball was moving as it was the first half and we've got to get better at that."
The Spurs shot 13-of-20 from the field in the third quarter to assume command by virtue of a 33-17 score differential in the period. Boston, which was 5- of-17 in the period, gave up the first 12 points of the third. A jumper by Antonio McDyess capped the burst for a 56-43 lead with 9:14 left.
Midway through the third, Pierce went down holding his right shoulder after being sandwiched between Jefferson and Ginobili. Pierce got up though to attempt the free throws.
"It's a little sore. It's a stinger, got some numbness down the right side of my arm but hopefully it doesn't get any worse," Pierce said.
Boston climbed within eight later in the third, but the Spurs pulled away, and Ginobili hit a one-handed running bank shot three-pointer from the left wing at the buzzer, moving the margin to 77-60 through 36 minutes.
"Manu's been playing great you know for the last month," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "He's basically taken over the team. He's been the same Manu we've had when we won championships, so you know without Tony it's really important for somebody to step up like that and he's done it."
San Antonio was ahead by as many as 25 in the fourth quarter.
The Celtics claimed a 23-19 lead after the first quarter, but the Spurs methodically turned a 27-24 deficit into a double-digit lead in the second. San Antonio scored seven in a row for a 31-27 lead and later bumped the margin to 40-30 following a pair of free throws from Hill.
Boston was able to close the gap to 44-43 entering the third, but that's when it all fell apart.
Boston's Kendrick Perkins missed his second straight game with tendinitis in his left knee...The Celtics had the services of Nate Robinson off the bench as his left ankle responded to treatment after a sprain on Friday night and he has been cleared to play. Robinson was held scoreless in nearly 13 minutes...The Celtics won in San Antonio, 90-83, on December 3, but Boston has lost 11 of its last 12 at home to the Spurs.
03/29 00:05:16 ET