for this game

Spurs host Celtics in interconference clash

Mar 17, 2008 - 12:52 PM Boston (52-13) at San Antonio (44-22) 8:30 pm EDT

SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) - The San Antonio Spurs aim to avoid their longest losing streak in over four years Monday when they host the Boston Celtics in a potential NBA Finals preview.

The defending champion Spurs return to the AT&T Center after going winless in a three-game road trip. San Antonio dropped its fifth consecutive road decision Saturday, a 103-96 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Tony Parker scored 27 points while Manu Ginobili added 22 for the Spurs, who are mired in their second three-game skid this season. San Antonio has not lost four consecutive contests since November 28-December 3, 2003.

The Spurs, however, have been outstanding at home of late, winning their last seven contests here to improve their home record to 27-5.

San Antonio will be hard-pressed to extend that winning streak against the Celtics, who own the NBA's best record and have won 11 of their last 12 games.

Boston opened its five-game road trip in dominant fashion Saturday with a 99-77 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Kevin Garnett scored 19 points to pace the Celtics, who visit Western Conference powerhouses Houston, Dallas and New Orleans after Monday's showdown.

Garnett was sidelined with an abdominal injury in Boston's first meeting this season with the Spurs - a 98-90 triumph on February 10.

It marked the first time that the Celtics defeated the Spurs since January 8, 1997 - a string of nine consecutive losses.

Boston could be without another injured All-Star in Monday's rematch, as shooting guard Ray Allen has been listed as questionable with a heel injury.

Bostn's third-leading scorer, Allen suffered the injury in the first quarter of Friday's loss to Utah and did not play Saturday.