Weak in the heart of Texas

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Weak in the heart of Texas

SAN ANTONIO The Boston Celtics will leave the state of Texas with momentum, but not the kind they were hoping for.

Whatever gains the Celtics thought they had made in the past couple of weeks have seemingly been wiped out following Saturday's 103-88 loss to the Spurs.

San Antonio, which snapped a two-game losing skid of their own with Saturday's victory, were led by Tony Parker's game-high 22 points along with eight assists. The Spurs (19-6) also got a strong game from Gary Neal who chipped in 20 points.

Boston was led by Paul Pierce and Jason Terry who each had 18 points.

The Celtics (12-11) spent most of the first half playing from behind, as the game looked eerily similar to their loss the previous night at Houston.

The C's weren't necessarily playing poor basketball, but it was clearly not good enough to assert any kind of control over a team as talented as the Spurs.

Terry came off the bench for the second straight game and once again seemed to be one of the few sparks for Boston.

Still, the Celtics found themselves once again struggling to make that one shot or get that defensive stop that would shift the game's momentum securely into their corner.

And while San Antonio had a number of players getting it done in the first half, Parker was delivering yet another solid night.

Parker, who came into the game as the Spurs leading scorer at 19.1 points per game, continues to provide San Antonio with anything and everything they need in order to be successful.

When a Paul Pierce dunk tied the game at 38, Parker connected with Matt Bonner for a 3-pointer to put the Spurs back on top by three points.

A 3-pointer by Terry cut San Antonio's lead to 48-46 late in the second, but a floater by Neal - Parker on the assist - made it a two-possession game once again.

And when a Pierce 3-pointer made it a one-point game with 36.9 seconds to play in the first half, Parker beat Rondo off the dribble for what would be the final lay-up of the half which ended with the Spurs ahead 52-49 and Parker tallying 10 points and five assists without a single turnover.

His Celtics counterpart, Rajon Rondo, had as many points (4) as turnovers in the first half to go along with six assists. He would finish with six points (on 3-for-7 shooting) and nine assists with seven turnovers (the same as last night).

Even more telling about Rondo's struggles in the first half was the fact that the C's were minus-7 with him on the floor in the first half with only one other Celtic (Brandon Bass who was minus-9) having a worst plus-minus ratio at the half. Rondo would finish with a plus-minus ratio of minus-17.