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6-straight missed free throws doom Spurs

Boston Celtics' Kevin Garnett attempts a shot as the San Antonio Spurs' Kurt Thomas puts a hand in his face in San Antonio on Friday.

Boston Celtics' Kevin Garnett attempts a shot as the San Antonio Spurs' Kurt Thomas puts a hand in his face in San Antonio on Friday.

SAN ANTONIO – Kevin Garnett writhed and whooped from the bench while missing another fourth quarter for Boston.

No matter. The Celtics were just happy he was there.

Returning to the Boston lineup after missing 13 games with a knee injury, Garnett scored 10 points before sitting out the fourth as a precaution while the rest of the Celtics held off the San Antonio Spurs in a thrilling 80-77 victory on Friday night.

“I felt really good,” Garnett said. “Doc and I talked about strategy and minutes, and he said he’d go by the way I felt. I missed a couple of assignments, but overall it was good for me. Hopefully I can build on this and contribute.”

Tony Parker scored 25 points for the Spurs but missed four consecutive free throws in the final minute that doomed San Antonio. In all, the Spurs missed their last six free throws in the final 2:32.

Afterward, the Celtics were as happy to leave San Antonio with the nail-biting victory as they were to have their All-Star forward back.

So, too, was Garnett, who also had four rebounds and hit his final five shots. He played just 15 minutes in the first and third quarters, which is all coach Doc Rivers committed Garnett to playing before the game.

And for the time he wasn’t playing?

“And there was my cheerleading,” Garnett said. “I thought I did a good job of that. I just didn’t have my pom-pons.”

Ray Allen scored 19 points and Kendrick Perkins hit a short fall-away with 2:10 left that wound up being the winner for Boston, which plays at Memphis Saturday. Rivers said Garnett wouldn’t play against the Grizzlies if he had any tightness.

Rajon Rondo had 16 points and 12 assists for Boston while Paul Pierce added nine points and 12 rebounds.

Tim Duncan had 15 points for the Spurs who, like the Celtics, are fighting to hold onto their high playoff seeding. The loss cut San Antonio’s lead over Houston to one game for the No. 2 seed with the Rockets coming to town Sunday.

The Spurs missed six consecutive free throws in the final 2:32, starting with two misses by Michael Finley that would have given San Antonio the lead.

Mavericks 94, Pacers 92: At Indianapolis, Dirk Nowitzki finished the game with a nifty stepback move, then hit a 20-footer with 1.1 seconds left.

Rockets 107, Timberwolves 88: At Houston, Ron Artest scored 20 points for the Rockets, and Aaron Brooks and Von Wafer added 13 apiece.

Nets 96, Heat 88: At East Rutherford, N.J., Vince Carter had 17 points, nine rebounds and eight assists and the Nets spoiled the return of NBA leading scorer Dwyane Wade to the Miami lineup after a one-game absence.

Kings 121, Knicks 94: At New York, Sacramento finally beat an Eastern Conference team on their 29th try, getting 30 points from Kevin Martin.

Bobcats 102, Raptors 89: At Toronto, Gerald Wallace and Boris Diaw scored 30 points each for Charlotte, which came in 1 1/2 games out of the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot.

Jazz 101, Thunder 94: At Oklahoma City, Deron Williams scored 20 of his 24 points in the second half and added 11 assists for Utah, which lost Mehmet Okur to an eye injury in the first half.

Hornets 96, Grizzlies 84: At New Orleans, Chris Paul had 32 points and David West scored 29 to help New Orleans send Memphis to its third straight loss.

Pistons 108, Clippers 90: At Auburn Hills, Mich., Antonio McDyess scored 24 points for short-handed Detroit.

Nuggets 116, Wizards 105: At Denver, J.R. Smith scored a season-high 40 points and Denver won its fifth straight.

Warriors 119, 76ers 111: At Oakland, Calif., Brandan Wright scored a career-high 25 points and Golden State won.

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For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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