Spurs' reserves hammer Celtics
Leonard, Aldridge get help from Mills, Lee and rookie Bertans to pip Boston
BOSTON CELTICS 103
SAN ANTONIO SPURS 109
The ever-demanding Gregg Popovich hasn't been happy with the attitude of his players, but his mood changed after the San Antonio Spurs' latest win.
Star man Kawhi Leonard scored nine points in the final 7min 17sec as the Spurs kept rolling with a spirited 109-103 win over the Boston Celtics that extended three winning streaks.
"It was a great win for us against the really active team," Spurs coach Popovich said.
LaMarcus Aldridge clinched Spurs' comeback victory with an offensive rebound and two free-throws with 17 seconds remaining.
Spurs, who trailed by 14 points in the first half, improved to 13-3 on the season before a crowd of 18,600 yesterday morning (Singapore time) at the Boston Garden Arena.
San Antonio rallied for their eighth straight NBA win, their ninth in as many games on the road this season, and also beat Boston for the 10th straight time.
Leonard, who finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, scored nine points in the fourth quarter.
Former Celtic Patty Mills tallied a season-best 19 points and rookie Davis Bertans and veteran David Lee added 15 points apiece.
That marked a career high for Bertans and season high for Lee, who also grabbed 12 rebounds.
Starters Danny Green and Aldridge scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Isaiah Thomas finished with 24 points and eight assists, while Avery Bradley had 19 points and eight rebounds for the Celtics, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.
Al Horford added 12 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, while Marcus Smart came off the bench to score nine points.
"I felt like we fought really hard all night," said Horford. "I think the stat sheets say their bench was the difference. They did a great job."
The Celtics, who built as much as a 14-point first-quarter advantage, watched their lead erode, not because of Leonard or Aldridge.
Leonard had a quiet night by his standards - only 25 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Aldridge bagged 10 points and four rebounds.
It was Spurs' reserve trio who collaborated to curb the Celtics - Mills, Lee and Bertans combined for 49 points on 18-of-25 shooting overall.
Boston's entire bench racked up only 30 points on 12-of-25 shooting.
Watching Lee dominate on the glass (seven offensive rebounds) will be tough for Celtics fans to stomach, especially after he arrived in Boston last season with a Larry O'Brien hangover from his summer of celebrating a championship victory with the Golden State Warriors.
Lee morphed quickly from starting big man to the bench and the Celtics eventually waived him and his US$14.4 million ($20.5m) contract in February.
"I'd love to be perfect and play great all the time," Lee said. "It wasn't the case last year to start the year, and it wasn't out of a lack of effort or disrespecting Boston or anything like that. It just worked out the way that it did.
"If I could go back and do it again, I would have probably tried to come in, in better shape, and that's that.
"There's nothing that I can do about it now but just try not to make that same mistake in the future." - AFP.
- Orlando 91 Washington 94
- Cleveland 128 Dallas 90
- Detroit 108 LA Clippers 97
- New York 113 Charlotte 111 (OT)
- Philadelphia 89 Chicago 105
- Indiana 118 Brooklyn 97
- Memphis 81 Miami 90
- Milwaukee 99 Toronto 105
- Utah 95 Atlanta 68
- Denver 129 Oklahoma 132
- Phoenix 85 Minnesota 98
- Portland 119 New Orleans 104
- LA Lakers 85 Golden State 109
- Sacramento 104 Houston 117