Celtics-Spurs Preview

The Associated Press

The San Antonio Spurs have played exceptionally well at home over the past couple years, and so far this season has been no different.

That home-court edge hasn't fazed Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics in recent years, though.

Boston looks to win its sixth straight visit to San Antonio while avoiding a four-game road losing streak Saturday night.

San Antonio is a stellar 71-12 in the regular season at the AT&T Center since the start of the 2010-11 campaign, including a 7-2 mark this season. The Spurs likely will be happy to return there after dropping the final two games of their four-game road trip, which ended with a 98-90 loss to Portland on Thursday after losing on a buzzer-beater to Utah the previous night.

Tony Parker scored 21 points and Tim Duncan added 16 for San Antonio (18-6), which didn't lose three straight regular-season games in 2011-12.

''I don't know if it was fatigue,'' said Duncan, who was coming off a 22-point, 21-rebound effort against the Jazz. ''We just couldn't really ever find our rhythm.''

Parker is averaging 23.4 points over his last 12 games, a stretch that began when he scored 26 on 12-of-17 shooting in a 112-100 win at Boston on Nov. 21, trumping Rondo's 22 points and 15 assists.

Parker and Rondo, who is averaging a league-best 12.9 assists, could be in for another battle Saturday.

''Rondo is one of the best in the NBA and every time you play one of the best, you want to be aggressive," Parker said after the last contest. "Rondo had a great game, too, so it was a good battle of point guards.''

Rondo scored 22 points and had 14 assists in a 107-97 victory March 31, 2011, in the most recent meeting in San Antonio, where Boston has won all five of his career games.

He's averaging 14.1 points and 13.8 assists - including a 23-assist performance in a win Jan. 5, 2011 - in his last eight overall contests against the Spurs.

Rondo finished with 15 points and 13 assists but committed a season-worst seven turnovers in Friday's 101-89 loss at Houston, the third straight road defeat for the Celtics (12-10).

Paul Pierce scored a team-high 18 points with seven rebounds but went 5 for 18 from the field for Boston, which had won three of its previous four overall.

''We took a step back tonight,'' Pierce said of the Celtics, who fell behind 17-4 before blowing a seven-point lead later. ''We were playing every other quarter. We've got to come out with the right mindset to be consistent.''

Boston was outrebounded for the fourth straight game and gave up at least 100 points for the first time in seven non-overtime contests.

''We were trying to create some defensive consistency and we just weren't able to do that,'' said Kevin Garnett, who had 14 points for his lowest total this month.

The Celtics shot a season-worst 40.0 percent.

''We had some runs, but I never felt like we were going to win the game,'' coach Doc Rivers said. ''I don't know why and I'm disappointed in the loss.''

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