Celtics beaten by the Spurs

dunks as Spurs center Tim Duncan appears to watch, flat-footed. The Spurs ralled to win by a point, 87-86. ELISE AMENDOLA / AP
dunks as Spurs center Tim Duncan appears to watch, flat-footed. The Spurs ralled to win by a point, 87-86. ELISE AMENDOLA / AP (The Celtics Paul Pierce)
Posted: April 05, 2012

   Tim Duncan had 10 points and 16 rebounds and the San Antonio Spurs won their ninth straight game, recovering to beat the Celtics, 87-86, in Boston on Wednesday night after blowing a 17-point, first-half lead.

The loss kept the Celtics, who had won five straight, a game and a half ahead of the 76ers.

Duncan also stopped Paul Pierce on the final play, forcing him into a fallaway jumper that bounced off the rim at the buzzer.

Danny Green scored 14 points, and Gary Neal had 13, including a three-pointer with two minutes left that gave the Spurs the lead after Boston went on a 13-4 run to move in front.

Pierce had 15 points and 10 rebounds, but he couldn't maneuver into open space after Boston inbounded the ball with 7.9 seconds left.

Rajon Rondo had 17 points and 11 assists for Boston. Avery Bradley added 19 points off the bench and Kevin Garnett had 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Hawks top Bobcats

Josh Smith scored 24 points, Jeff Teague added 17 and Atlanta beat visiting Charlotte, 120-93. Joe Johnson finished with 16 points for Atlanta. Rookie Kemba Walker led Charlotte with 21 points. The NBA-worst Bobcats have lost nine straight to drop to 7-45.

Granger leads Indy

Danny Granger scored 20 points, and the Pacers won their third straight - shooting a season-high 58 percent - in a 109-96 victory in Washington.

Darren Collison added 17 points and 11 assists, Tyler Hansbrough and Leandro Barbosa scored 14 points apiece, and Roy Hibbert had 13 points for the Pacers, who have won 8 of 11 to move into third place in the Eastern Conference.

Noteworthy

Commissioner David Stern said the NBA is close to finalizing a deal to keep the Hornets in New Orleans with a very favorable lease, important capital improvements, intense tax benefits and a new television deal.

- Associated Press

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