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Bonner in Boston tonight
Denver forward Corey Brewer (right) tries to steal the ball from San Antonio forward Matt Bonner during Saturday's game. (Soobum Im-US PRESSWIRE)
Matt Bonner has been a part of four high school championship games, an NCAA national championship and the NBA Finals throughout his basketball career. Nothing fires up the Concord native more than a trip to the TD Garden every season.
Bonner and the San Antonio Spurs make their once-a-year visit to Boston tonight. Tip-off is at 7:30. The game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet.
"It's the most butterflies I get before the game. Everyone I know is watching. It's always the most exciting game of the year, coming home and playing in front of my friends and family," said Bonner, who has made nine of 14 attempts from three-point range this season.
In 2009, the Red Rocket had one of the best games of his career on the famed parquet, scoring 23 points and leading the Spurs over the Celtics, 105-99. Last season, he scored 10 points and hit back-to-back 3-pointers during a back-and-forth battle won by the Spurs, 87-86, after Paul Pierce missed a jumper at the buzzer.
As a rookie with the Raptors, Bonner netted his first five shots against the Celtics.
The 32-year-old, in his eighth season, always has his own cheering section at the Garden. After the game, he meets with New Hampshire fans before the team bus leaves for the airport.
"It's always a special night. My earliest basketball memories are watching the Celtics. They've had so many legends. Just seeing the (Celtics) jersey gets me excited to play," he said.
Bonner, averaging 4.1 points per game, isn't the only family member drawing a paycheck in the NBA. (The former Concord High valedictorian will earn $3.6 million this season.) Becky Bonner, who played at Stanford and Boston University, works for the NBA's Basketball Operations International Group and has traveled through Africa and Europe as a league representative.
The Celtics have won seven of the last 10 games against the Spurs, who arrive somewhat banged up tonight. Forwards Stephen Jackson (finger) and Kawhi Leonard (knee) are dealing with injuries. Bonner, averaging 10.6 minutes per game, is expected to see additional playing time tonight.
The Spurs lost at home to the Los Angeles Clippers, 92-87, on Monday night.