San Antonio gets off to quick start in rout of Celtics


BOSTON (AP) -- The San Antonio Spurs certainly didn't need a late
rally this time against the Boston Celtics.

Tim Duncan scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds in just
over three quarters as the Spurs coasted to their 11th consecutive
win over the Celtics, 94-78 on Sunday night.

It couldn't have been more different from the first meeting
between the teams in San Antonio on Jan. 12 when the Spurs needed a
game-ending 8-0 run to win.

In that game, Stephen Jackson nailed a 3-pointer with 9.6
seconds left to five San Antonio an 81-80 win.

On Sunday he got things started off right for the Spurs, hitting
a 3-pointer on the first possession to trigger a game-opening 14-4

"I think the focus was to take away their outside shots,''
Duncan said. "The perimeter people won this game.''

Jackson and Kevin Willis each had 15 points for the Spurs.
Antoine Walker led the Celtics with 18 points and J.R. Bremer
scored 15.

It was the first game at the FleetCenter since someone
apparently released pepper spray or Mace behind the Celtics' bench
during Friday night's game against the Los Angeles Clippers. There
was an announcement thanking fans for their patience for increased
security measures. There were no incidents.

The Spurs shot 53 percent and limited Boston to 40 percent. The
Celtics were just 6-for-21 on 3-pointers.

San Antonio, which had 30 assists on its 36 baskets, had
balanced scoring with seven players with seven points or more.

"That's what we wanted to do,'' forward Bruce Bowen said. "We
don't want it to be just the 'Tim Duncan Show.'''

The Celtics' reserves made a brief run against the Spurs' bench
in the fourth, closing to 89-76 on Mark Blount's basket with 2:11
to play.

"We knocked ourselves out,'' Boston coach Jim O'Brien said.
"You turn the ball over 23 times and you're not going to win many
games against even a decent basketball team -- and they're clearly
one of the best in the NBA.''

The Spurs, who shot 53 percent in the opening quarter, led 23-13
after one.

"We were careless,'' Walker said of the Celtics' turnovers.
"We didn't give ourselves an opportunity to win.''

In the second, Boston's deficit stayed between eight and 13
points until San Antonio closed the half with a 9-0 run. Tony
Parker started the spurt with a 3-pointer and capped it with a
layup at the buzzer that made the score 48-30.

The Spurs continued to dominate in the third, building their
lead to 74-48 on a basket by Duncan. They held a 74-50 advantage
after three.

"Boston had one of those nights were they just couldn't get it
in the hole,'' San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said.

Boston forward Eric Williams was ejected for a flagrant foul on
Parker four minutes into the game. Williams, who tackled Parker,
protested briefly before leaving the floor. Parker made both free

Game notes
Walker collided with Blount in the first quarter, getting a
cut above his right eye. ... Pierce was issued a technical early in
the second quarter and Blount was whistled for one in the third.
... The Spurs swept the two games between the teams for the fifth
straight season. ... Bimbo Coles, signed by Boston Saturday, wore
jersey No. 12.