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NBA Game Summary - San Antonio at Boston

(Sunday, February 10th)

Final Score: Boston 98, San Antonio 90

Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Paul Pierce poured in 35 points as Boston outlasted San Antonio, 98-90, at TD Banknorth Garden.

Ray Allen added 19 points for the Celtics, who have won three straight games and are a perfect 16-0 against the Western Conference this season. Rajon Rondo chipped in with five points, 11 rebounds and a career-high 12 assists.

"It was a great effort," Pierce said. "We played with a lot of intensity, and that's what it's going to take to beat these elite teams in the NBA."

Tim Duncan had 22 points, 14 rebounds and six assists for the Spurs, who lost for the first time in five games. Manu Ginobili finished with 21 points, while Michael Finley netted 19 points off the bench.

"They brought effort and they brought their energy," Duncan said. "Paul (Pierce) and Ray (Allen) kept them close and they made shots for them when they needed them. They just made plays and defensively, they were solid, they were really solid."

The Celtics entered the fourth quarter with a seven-point lead and quickly extended it to double-digits, 71-61, when Pierce drained a three-pointer to open the quarter.

The defending champs refused to go, quietly, however and closed to within a bucket after Ime Udoka got loose for a layup with just 3:59 to go.

After Glen Davis and Duncan traded buckets, Allen drove down the heart of the lane for the Celtics and deposited a left-handed lay-in to make it a two- possession game, 87-83, with 2:50 to play.

Udoka had a great look at a three-pointer for San Antonio but came up empty. Pierce eventually corralled the rebound and was fouled, connecting on both from the line to make it 89-83 with 2:15 on the clock.

The Spurs made one last push. After Duncan sank 1-of-2 from the line, Ginobili hit from beyond the arc to draw San Antonio within two points, 89-87, with 1:24 remaining.

Davis managed to make 1-of-2 from the line for the Celtics before Finley tried to deadlock things for the Spurs, but his three-pointer attempt went in-and- out. San Antonio was then forced to foul Allen, who calmly stroked two from the line with 22.8 seconds left, to give Boston a five-point edge, 92-87.

The Celtics then made enough free throws in the waning seconds to seal the victory.

"I think in the end they just played better basketball than we did," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "They were a little sharper, and they took care of the ball a little bit better than we did. They made some shots when they needed to, got some rebounds when they need to down the stretch and that was the difference in the ball game."

The Spurs took a slim 23-20 edge after the opening 12 minutes, but Boston bounced back to take a 43-41 lead at intermission.

The Celtics led by as many as nine points, 61-52, in the third quarter, after Pierce stuck a mid-range jumper with 4:07 left in the stanza.

San Antonio closed the gap from there, but James Posey drained a three to cap the scoring in the frame with Boston on top, 68-61.

Game Notes

Celtics star Kevin Garnett missed his seventh straight game with an abdominal strain. The team is now 5-2 without him...Kendrick Perkins also missed the game for Boston with a balky shoulder...This was the first of two meetings between the clubs this season. San Antonio is scheduled to host the Celtics on March 17th at the AT&T Center...The Spurs are now 12-12 on the road this season...The Celtics are 22-4 at home this season.

02/10 16:49:24 ET

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