Spurs beat Celtics in good night for leaders

Spurs beat Celtics in good night for leaders

SAN ANTONIO - Reuters / The Associated Press
Spurs beat Celtics in good night for leaders

Guard Gary Neal added 20points as the San Antonio Spurs trounced the Boston Celtics in a game played at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. AP photo

The San Antonio Spurs overcame the early loss of Manu Ginobili to injury and still recorded a comfortable 103-88 win over the Boston Celtics on Dec. 15, with Tony Parker having 22 points and eight assists.

San Antonio’s victory was part of a pattern as the five divisional leaders in action - New York, Miami, Chicago and the Los Angeles Clippers included - all won.

Gary Neal added 20 points for the Spurs, who lost Ginobli to a bruised left thigh when he ran into an opponent on a screen late in the first quarter.

Paul Pierce and Jason Terry each scored 18 points for Boston.

The San Antonio Spurs broke out of a two-game losing streak in style, demolishing the Boston Celtics 103-88 on Saturday to claw closer to Oklahoma City’s Western Conference lead.

The Spurs (19-6) surged ahead in the final quarter courtesy of Tony Parker’s 22 points and Gary Neal’s 20, to close in on the Thunder’s Western Conference-leading 19-4 record.

Kevin Garnett (13), Courtney Lee (11), Jeff Green (10) also put up double figures on the scoreboard in a solid team effort.

“We were able to just keep the tempo going,” Neal told reporters.

“I think our legs were a little fresher and we were able to keep the tempo pushing forward and knock down some shots.”

Starting forward Paul Pierce and bench player Jason Terry contributed 18 points each for the Celtics (12-11), but they fell short of claiming a sixth successive victory in San Antonio.

The Celtics have been the only visiting team to do well in San Antonio against a Spurs team boasting an impressive 72-12 record in the regular season at the AT&T Center since the start of the 2010-11 campaign, including a 8-2 mark this season.

“The home court advantage played big for us today, especially with Boston coming off a game last night,” Neal added.

“It’s always an advantage to play at home. When you make your shots the crowd gets involved and you get your adrenaline going.

“For the most part we fed off the way we all played. When you make the shots the energy just builds on its own and that’s what happened today.”

Clippers’ record

Elsewhere, the Clippers notched their ninth straight win with a 111-85 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. It’s their longest winning streak since they had 11 in a row as the Boston Braves in 1974-75.

Los Angeles’ Matt Barnes scored 21 points while Blake Griffin had 18 points and 11 rebounds, including three spectacular dunks in quick succession in the third quarter.

Marquis Daniels scored 16 points for the Bucks, who had won four in a row but shot just 36 percent from the field.

The Clippers remained 1 1-2 games ahead of the Golden State Warriors, who had an impressive 115-83 road win over the Atlanta Hawks, who had won 11 of their previous 13.

The Chicago Bulls kept their noses in front in the Central Division with an 83-82 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Joakim Noah had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and helped force a key turnover as the Bulls rallied for the win. Noah and Luol Deng trapped Joe Johnson late in the game, resulting in one of Brooklyn’s 18 turnovers. Deng turned the mistake into a basket that tied it at 79-79.

Brooklyn’s Deron Williams missed a jumper that would have tied it in the final seconds, giving Chicago its fifth win in six games.

Marco Belinelli led Chicago with 19 points and made two free throws to cap an 8-0 run in the closing minutes.

While Brooklyn suffered a one-point defeat, their city rivals the New York Knicks had a one-point win, edging the Cleveland Cavaliers 103-102.

The Knicks improved the NBA’s only unbeaten home record to 10-0 when Anderson Varejao missed the second of two free throws with one second left. It’s the best home start for New York since the 1991-92 team won its first 11.

Kyrie Irving scored 41 points for the Cavaliers, who had no problems wearing a protective mask after breaking a facial bone on a hard fall last week.

The Miami Heat predictably routed the lowly Washington Wizards, with LeBron James notching 23 points and 10 rebounds in the 102-72 win.