Report card: Celtics 88, Spurs 103

By Quixem Ramirez

A: Gary NealNeal scored 20 points, second behind Tony Parker. While Parker inflicted much of his damage in the fourth, scoring nine in the final period, Neal added four, eight, five and three points in each quarter. His work off screens befuddled the Celtics defense and he flashed a nice mid-range shot and smooth floater to combat the aggressive close outs.

B: Tiago SplitterGregg Popovich tinkered with his starting lineup tonight, placing Splitter alongside Tim Duncan. Splitter outplayed Duncan in 28 minutes, giving San Antonio a near double-double with 16 points and eight boards. Previously, Pop was deterred from instituting this combination because of the pitfalls of a Blair-Bonner pairing, now mitigated by Boris Diaw, and the poor spacing resulting from two big man. As Splitter has been used more often as an all-purpose roll man, this hasn’t been an issue. Splitter also added four nifty assists, his second-highest total of the season.

C: Tim DuncanDuncan recorded his lowest point total of the season with five points. He misfired often, missing 11 of 13 shots, though he remained a threat on the defense glass. This wasn’t a back-to-back but you wouldn’t have known otherwise judging by his rare stinker.

D: Rajon RondoThe Spurs limited the league’s leading assist man to nine on the night, marking the second time all season in which he failed to record 10 assists. Rondo turned the ball over seven times, tying a season-high, as the Spurs defense prevented his teammates from creating clean looks from the perimeter.

F: Brandon BassBass hoisted five shots, making one and scoring two points. Boston expects more from Bass, one of the league’s premier mid-range shooters.