BOSTON, February 8 – San Antonio stars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili were primed for Sunday's showdown with the Boston Celtics, but their back-up also had room to shine in a victory over the National Basketball Association champions.
Matt Bonner scored 16 of his season-high 23 points in the first half and Roger Mason sank the go-ahead three-pointer with 20 seconds to play as the Spurs downed the Celtics 105-99.
It was the Spurs’ ninth win in 11 games, and the team improved to 2-1 on their annual rodeo road trip – a slate of eight away games that runs while the Texas club’s home arena hosts a rodeo.
After Monday’s hard-fought overtime win at Golden State, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich opted to rest the star trio of Duncan, Parker and Ginobili for all of Tuesday’s defeat at Denver.
Five days later the move paid dividends as Duncan finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds, Parker handed out seven assists and Ginobili scored 19 points off the bench.
San Antonio also benefitted from a big performance by Bonner, who finished 10-of-17 from the floor and collected eight rebounds.
After struggling offensively for much of the contest, Mason came through when he had to, sinking a three-pointer with 20 seconds to play that gave San Antonio the lead for good at 95-93.
Kevin Garnett paced the Celtics with 26 points and 12 rebounds while Paul Pierce added 19 points.
Boston have now lost two of their last three in the wake of a 12-game winning streak.
Bonner scored 14 points in less than six minutes in the second quarter as the Spurs erased a five-point deficit to lead 60-52 at halftime.
Duncan, Parker and Ginobili combined to score San Antonio’s last nine points of the first half.
Boston responded by opening the third quarter with a 12-0 scoring run that saw them take a 64-60 lead.
The lead changed hands three times in a thrilling fourth quarter.
Garnett’s three-pointer pulled Boston within 102-99 with five seconds to play, but Mason and Michael Finley combined to make three free throws in the waning seconds and clinch the victory.