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Old 03-21-2009, 01:27 AM   #1
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Unhappy Garnett returns in Celtics' 80-77 win over Spurs

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Garnett returns in Celtics' 80-77 win over Spurs

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 fallaway with 2:10 left that wound up being the winner for Boston, which plays at Memphis tomorrow. 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.

``If you miss six free throws in a row down the stretch, it's probably going to affect a tight game,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. ``We wished we would have made free throws. They made mistakes; we made mistakes. That's what the game is made of.''


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Old 03-21-2009, 01:28 AM   #2
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