SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Dejounte Murray had 29 points and 11 rebounds and the San Antonio Spurs rallied in the final minute after blowing a 24-point lead to beat the Boston Celtics 96-88 on Friday night, snapping a six-game skid.
Keldon Johnson and Derrick White added 17 points each and Tre Jones had a career-high 12 points for San Antonio. Murray had eight points in final 2:58 to prevent another disastrous finish for the Spurs against the Celtics.
Jayson Tatum had 24 points and 12 rebounds for Boston, and and Jaylen Brown added 16 points as Boston. The Celtics have lost two straight.
It marked the second straight season Boston overcame a substantial deficit against San Antonio. The Celtics stormed back from a 32-point deficit to beat the Spurs 143-140 in overtime on April 30. Boston couldn’t finish the rally this time.
Consecutive short jumpers in the lane by White and Murray staked the Spurs to a 91-88 lead with 47.4 seconds remaining and they closed the game out with free throws.
Boston took its first lead at 74-72 on Grant Williams’ 3-pointer with 8:17 remaining in the fourth quarter. The lead would stretch to 81-76 on Tatum’s second 3-pointer and his own follow of a missed 3-pointer.
The Celtics had to rally after its worst first half this season.
Boston opened the game going 1 for 12 from the field, including missing all three of its 3-point attempts. It prompted a timeout 5 minutes into the game with San Antonio leading 10-3.
The break didn’t thaw the Celtics.
Boston finished 5 for 26 from the field, scoring a season-low 14 points in the opening quarter.
The lead would swell to 24 points before the fortunes changed for both teams in the second half.
Celtics: Boston’s Josh Richardson and Robert Williams III both missed the game as they recover from the flu. Celtics coach Ime Udoka said Richardson is expected to join the Celtics tomorrow in San Antonio before they fly out to Toronto. … Dennis Schroder remained in the game after landing on Jakob Poeltl’s foot on a 14-foot jumper with 7:26 remaining in the first half. Schroder initially fell to the court clutching his right ankle on the play, which was upgraded to a flagrant foul 1 on Poeltl. Shroder finished with eight points in 38 minutes… The Celtics previous low in the opening quarter was 15 points at Dallas on Nov. 6. Boston also matched its season low of 37 points in the first half, which they against Cleveland on Nov. 15.
Spurs: Murray joined Alvin Robertson as the only players in franchise history with 2,500 points, 1,500 rebounds and 1,000 assists in their first 300 career games. … San Antonio is second in the league with 27.8 assists per game. Golden State leads the league at 29.4 assists per game. … The Spurs limited the Celtics to 14 points in the opening quarter, matching the season low for an opponent they set Nov. 7 against Oklahoma City. … Murray received a technical foul with 8:22 remaining in the first half after complaining about a non-call to official Lauren Holtkamp. Murray was bent over rubbing his eye after being hit in the face by Marcus Smart on a breakaway layup. … San Antonio has led by double digits in nine games this season.
Celtics: At Toronto on Sunday.
Spurs: Host Washington on Monday.