San Antonio 109, Boston 103
When: 1:00 PM ET, Friday, November 25, 2016
Where: TD Garden, Boston
BOSTON — Kawhi Leonard took over down the stretch and the San Antonio Spurs extended three winning streaks with a 109-103 victory Friday that ended the Boston Celtics’ three-game winning.
The Spurs, who trailed by 14 points in the first half, rallied for their eighth straight win overall, their ninth in as many road games and also beat Boston for the 10th consecutive time. Leonard, who finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, scored nine points in the fourth quarter — all in the final 7:17 — as the Spurs improved to 13-3.
The San Antonio bench totaled 56 points and 17 rebounds, with Patty Mills scoring 19 points and rookie Davis Bertans and veteran David Lee adding 15 points apiece — a career high for Bertans and season high for Lee, who turned back the clock and also grabbed a season-high 12 rebounds in just 17:31 of playing time.
Lee may have been seeking revenge against the Celtics, who had him at the start of last season and hardly used him before he finished the season in Dallas.
Starters Danny Green and LaMarcus Aldridge scored 11 and 10 points, respectively, with Aldridge clinching the decision with an offensive rebound and two free throws with 17.4 seconds remaining.
Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics (9-7) with 24 points and eight assists while Avery Bradley had 19 points and eight rebounds. Al Horford added 12 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks while Marcus Smart, coming off the bench, had nine points, 10 assists and four rebounds.
The Spurs led 8-6 when the Celtics started an 18-2 first-quarter run to grab a 24-10 lead. Boston had a similar start in its last game at Brooklyn, where a 17-point lead was squandered. In this game, the Spurs never caught up in the first half, but they did get the lead down to one on two different occasions, fell behind again by seven before closing the half with a 5-0 run and tying the game 56 seconds into the second half.
The Celtics, coming off sweeping a three-game road trip, went 5:51 without a point in the second quarter as San Antonio used a 12-0 spurt to get back in the game. Boston then needed 2:37 to score in the second half, running that drought to 3:38 bridging the halves as the Spurs built an eight-point lead.
Five straight points by Bradley brought the Celtics even with 5:08 left in the third quarter and Kelly Olynyk (nine points) then nailed a 3-pointer to put Boston up by three with 4:19 left in the third.
The Spurs ended the quarter when, down five, they got back-to-back 3-pointers in the final 24.3 seconds — Mills hitting a long bomb with 0.4 on the clock.
NOTES: Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on his team being 8-0 on the road and 4-3 at home before Friday: “It’s a weird year. We lost three in a row at home, and last year we lost one all year. Now we’re undefeated on the road. Don’t ask me. I guess that’s why they call it a game. You never know what’s going to happen.” … San Antonio F Kawhi Leonard entered the game averaging 25.1 points per game but was 26.8, to go with 5.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists, in eight road games. … Celtics coach Brad Stevens, asked why his team swept a three-game road trip, said: “Health. It’s nice to have everybody back.” … Celtics C Al Horford, who returned (along with F Jae Crowder who missed eight games with a sprained ankle) from a nine-game absence (concussion) in time for the trip, scored 59 points, grabbed 21 rebounds, dished out 18 assists and made eight blocked shots in the three games. … The Spurs finish their three-game trip at Washington Saturday night, while the Celtics are off until Monday night’s game at Miami.