BOSTON The Boston Celtics had their chances. But in the end -- literally -- it just wasn't meant to be, as Paul Pierce's last-second jumper hit the back of the rim and rolled out, which secured San Antonio's 87-86 win.
With the loss, Boston's five-game winning streak was snapped while the Spurs continue to roll along, now having won a season-best nine in a row.
Fortunately for the Celtics (30-23), the loss won't have an impact on their quest to win the Atlantic Division with the Sixers getting thumped by 21 points at home by Toronto.
After spending most of the game trailing, Boston finally broke through in the fourth when Pierce connected with Avery Bradley doing what he does best -- cutting to the basket.
The end result was a lay-up that put the Celtics ahead 81-79, their first lead since about midway through the first quarter.
But the Spurs responded with an 8-0 run, capped off by a buzzer-beating jumper from Matt Bonner to give San Antonio an 87-83 lead with 46.5 seconds to play.
But Ray Allen, returning to the starting lineup after missing the previous six games with a right ankle injury, drained a 3-pointer to make it a one-point game.
After getting a defensive stop, the Celtics' Rajon Rondo got the ball past halfcourt, seemingly in attack mode.
He didn't see anything initially, so the C's called a time-out with 7.9 seconds to play.
After San Antonio's defense prevented them from in-bounding the ball when they wanted to, Rondo called a second time-out, which set up Pierce's last-second shot that hit the back of the rim before rolling out.
Boston seemed on the verge of getting blown out behind a strong second quarter by the Spurs bench which pushed their lead to as many as 17 points. But the C's began to make it a game in the third quarter, limiting the high scoring Spurs to just nine points.
However, the Celtics weren't that much better at scoring the ball in the third, which was why they went into the fourth trailing 68-64.