San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) blocks a shot attempt by Boston Celtics guard Paul Pierce (34) in the first quarter in San Antonio Sunday, Dec. 26, 2004.
AP Photo/Eric Gay
SAN ANTONIO Tony Parker seems to have found his offensive spark.
The San Antonio point guard, who struggled with his shot early in the season, scored a season-high 27 points on Sunday night to lead the Spurs to a 107-90 victory over the Boston Celtics.
Parker went 11-for-17 from the floor, and is shooting 55 percent over the past 15 games. In the Spurs' first 13 games, he managed only 39 percent.
''I was rushing, you know, maybe forcing a lot of shots,'' said Parker, who signed a $66 million contract extension in late October. ''Now I'm just taking my time and letting it come. The more I am feeling comfortable, the more I want to take shots.''
San Antonio built up several decisive leads during the game, only to watch the tenacious Celtics scrap their way back into contention.
Down by 15 to start the final period, Boston's last charge pulled it within 92-84 on a 19-footer jumper by Ricky Davis with nearly five minutes left.
But Bruce Bowen's third 3-pointer of the game and a driving layup by Parker started a 12-4 run to seal the win.
''We had a lot of assists tonight (27), so that means we are distributing the ball,'' Bowen said. ''We understand that if you're shooting wide-open shots, it's a lot better.''
Devin Brown added 17 points, including four 3-pointers, for San Antonio and Bowen finished with 15. Tim Duncan had 14 points and 11 rebounds to keep his perfect record against Boston intact. He hasn't lost to the Celtics since they missed out on drafting him in 1997.
Davis led Boston with 21 points on 8-for-11 shooting, and Paul Pierce scored 16.
The Celtics trailed 50-43 at halftime, but a 14-6 burst capped by Gary Payton's layup helped Boston take its only lead of the game at the 7:22 mark in the third.
The lead was short-lived, as Duncan hit a short bank shot over Mark Blount on San Antonio's next trip down the floor to start an 11-0 burst by the Spurs that included three layups and a driving finger roll by Parker.
''Our pick-and-roll defense is atrocious,'' said Celtics coach Doc Rivers.
The Celtics went without a basket for five minutes before Raef LaFrentz made his second 3-pointer and a dunk, but Brown hit a 31-footer at the third-quarter buzzer to extend the Spurs' lead to 81-66.
''We made a run, then we went flat again,'' said Payton, who finished with 10 points. ''We can't stop a team that penetrates like they did, getting layup after layup.''
San Antonio finished with 18 layups and outscored Boston 52-46 in the paint.
Cavaliers 100, Hornets 91
CLEVELAND Jeff McInnis scored six points in a 47-second span late in the fourth quarter to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 100-91 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday night.
LeBron James came within one rebound of his first career triple-double with 22 points and a season-high 14 assists for the Cavaliers, who handed the Hornets their 12th consecutive road loss.
Drew Gooden had 18 points and 18 rebounds, while McInnis finished with 16 points and 10 assists for Cleveland, which improved to 11-2 at home.
Lee Nailon scored 18 points against his former team to lead New Orleans.
Knicks 91, Bobcats 82
NEW YORK Tim Thomas scored 20 points to lead five New York starters in double figures.
New York played without Jamal Crawford, who was placed on injured reserve with turf toe of his right foot, but several Knicks took turns filling in, including Allan Houston, who had 16 points. Forward Kurt Thomas had 10 points, center Nazr Mohammed added 16 and point guard Stephon Marbury overcame a poor start to score 14.
Emeka Okafor had 23 points and 15 rebounds for the Bobcats for his 15th straight double-double, the most in a row by a rookie since Shaquille O'Neal had 15 straight for Orlando during the 1992-93 season.
Bucks 99, Bulls 92
MILWAUKEE Michael Redd scored 20 of his season-high 39 points in the first quarter to help snap the Bucks' five-game losing streak.
Redd, who made eight of his first 11 shots, was 15-of-27 from the floor. Joe Smith added a season-high 21 points to go with nine rebounds for the Bucks, who beat Chicago for the 13th straight time in Milwaukee.
Suns 106, Raptors 94
PHOENIX Amare Stoudemire scored 33 points and Phoenix held off a strong Toronto comeback for its 11th consecutive victory.
The Suns won for the 20th time in 21 games to boost their NBA-best record to 24-3 and maintain their grip on first place in the Pacific Division.
Steve Nash had 18 points and 13 assists for Phoenix, making him the first NBA player in history to register 10 or more assists in 11 consecutive wins. Shawn Marion added 18 points and 18 rebounds, and Quentin Richardson also scored 18.
Timberwolves 109, Wizards 74
MINNEAPOLIS Wally Szczerbiak's 23 points led four starters in double figures for Minnesota.
Sam Cassell had 22 points, Kevin Garnett 18 and Latrell Sprewell 11 for the Timberwolves, who snapped a two-game losing streak. Minnesota has beaten the Wizards seven straight times.
Gilbert Arenas scored 21 points to lead Washington, which wrapped up a five-game road trip with its worst loss of the season, eclipsing a 105-74 setback at Cleveland on Nov. 13.
Rockets 96, Clippers 79
HOUSTON Tracy McGrady and Jim Jackson each scored 21 points to help Houston win for the seventh time in 10 games.
Yao Ming had 20 points and 11 rebounds for his third straight double-double and team-high 11th of the season.
Corey Maggette scored 23 points to lead the Clippers.
Warriors 98, Kings 94
SACRAMENTO, Calif. Jason Richardson scored all 26 of his points in the second half to lead Golden State.
The Warriors snapped an 11-game losing streak in Sacramento and won for just the second time in 22 games there, dating back to April 9, 1998.
Mavericks 102, Nuggets 88
DENVER Dirk Nowitzki scored 25 of his 36 points in the second half to help Dallas rally past Denver.
Michael Finley added 20 points and Erick Dampier had 13 points and 10 rebounds as the Mavericks turned a 12-point deficit into a three-point lead by the end of the third quarter.
Denver was without leading scorer Carmelo Anthony for the fourth straight game because of a sprained ankle and had to play the second half without power forward Kenyon Martin due to back spasms.
Andre Miller led the Nuggets with 18 points.
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