SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs are starting to shed an old habit and create a new one, getting off to faster starts at home.
The Spurs put the Celtics in a early hole and held off Boston to win their third in a row at home 108-101. San Antonio is now 20-5.
Midway through the first quarter, the Spurs went on a 13-3 and opened up an 11 point lead.
Manu Ginobili helped the surge with a couple of back-to-back three's. He finished with 12 points.
San Antonio hit a drought in the second quarter and allowed the Celtics back in it with a 17-5 run, but the Spurs turned up the defense and finished out the half on a 14-4 run, highlighted by a couple of Pau Gasol buckets and a Kawhi Leonard 3 pointer.
Leonard had 14 at the half and finished with 26. The Spurs had a nine point lead at halftime 56-47.
The second half looked like the first half. Spurs got the lead to 15 thanks to a couple of Kawhi dunks in the third but then Boston came right back again and cut the lead down to one.
Just when the Celtics started feeling good, Gasol steadied the Spurs with a corner three, his 15th of the year. Gasol is now 15-32. He finished with a solid line, 17 points, 13 rebounds and six assists.
It was a good response after working out with Tim Duncan for a couple of days.
"Made all the difference, that is all I am going to do from now on," Gasol said. He also gave credit to the days off.
The Spurs held on to the lead to pull out the victory to take the season series against the Celtics.
"(I) think we played pretty well today, we had some distractions," Ginobili said. "We got great leads three times and they got back in the game but overall I think we feel better about the way we played."
One of the reasons they feel good for the second game in a row is the Spurs were able to move the ball and ended up with 33 assists. That is two games in a row where they have had 30 plus passes lead to buckets.
"The ball moved, the ball moved better than it has in the past at home here," said Gregg Popovich.
"The ball was moving, everybody was sharing and when we play like that we are hard to beat," said Tony Parker.
Parker lead the team with seven assists and when he wasn't passing, he was knocking down his shot. Parker finished with 16 points, 10 of those came in the fourth quarter.
"Pop was calling my number, pick and roll, put me in situations to be aggressive for my tear drop and penetrating," Parker said.
LaMarcus Aldridge sat out of the game to get some rest. David Lee got the start in his place and put in a solid performance with 8 points and 10 rebounds.
San Antonio finished with game with six guys in double figures. "It was a really good win for us," Popovich said.
The Spurs play at Phoenix Thursday night before Sunday's home game where Tim Duncan's No. 21 jersey will be retired.