Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III blocks a shot by San Antonio Spurs forward Keita Bates-Diop in the first half  Wednesday night in Boston. Charles Krupa/Associated Press

BOSTON — Gregg Popovich became the first to coach 2,000 NBA games with the same team, and Dejounte Murray scored 22 points to lead the San Antonio Spurs past the Boston Celtics 99-97 on Wednesday night.

Devin Vassell and Derrick White each had 17 points for the Spurs, who snapped a four-game losing streak.

Jaylen Brown led Boston with 30 points after scoring a career-high 50 in a victory over Orlando in the Celtics’ last game but had a driving layup roll off the rim just before the buzzer sounded.

Murray, the team’s scoring leader, returned from COVID-19 protocols after being sidelined the last five games and played 33 minutes.

Boston’s Jayson Tatum also returned after missing four games while he was in the league’s health and safety protocols and scored 19 points on 6-of-20 shooting. Marcus Smart chipped in with 14 points and six assists.

The Spurs led 95-89 with just over three minutes left before Boston sliced it to two points.


The Celtics then had a 24-second violation and Brown was called for an offensive foul on the next possession with 1:53 to go.

The Spurs held a 99-97 edge when Smart missed a one-handed floater in the lane with about 20 seconds to play.

Brown stole an inbound pass and drove while being contested, but his shot rolled off the rim.

Popovich downplayed the achievement before the game when asked if the milestone meant anything to him.

“No, it means I’m old, been at the same place for a long time, worked with a lot of great players, blah, blah, blah,” the 72-year-old said.

Neither team held more than a two-possession lead the entire game.

The Spurs were just 1-4 while Murray was sidelined. He clamped down on Tatum while they were matched up Wednesday.

NOTES: Center Robert Williams III returned after missing the last game with a sprained right toe. … Guard Payton Pritchard entered health and safety protocols. … The Celtics had a video montage of Sam Jones’ highlights on the jumbotron during the first timeout. Jones, a 10-time champion with Boston, passed away on Dec. 30. He was 88.

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