Parker too much for Blazers
Parker too much for Blazers
By Jeff McDonald
Over the course of the past week, the Spurs have learned more than they ever wanted to about human anatomy.
Thanks to Manu Ginobili, they learned where the distal fibula is. Thanks to Tim Duncan, they learned the difference between tendinitis and tendonosis.
They also learned something else: Tony Parker, with two healthy legs built for speed, can be a pretty good cure for whatever ails them.
With Duncan and Ginobili sidelined for the second-straight night Wednesday, Parker carried the Spurs to their second-straight victory, pumping in 39 points to help bury Portland 99-84 at the AT&T Center.
In that, it looked awfully similar to what happened one night earlier, when Parker scored 37 to beat Dallas.
“Tony Parker was a super stud again,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, repeating the moniker he'd given his All-Star point guard 24 hours before. “He was just fantastic.”
Ginobili missed his fifth game in a row with a stress reaction in his right distal fibula, a small bone on the top of the ankle. Duncan missed his second with what team doctors diagnosed as tendonosis in his right quad.
Behind Parker's encore, and another black-and-blue defensive effort, the Spurs (39-17) won anyway to push their winning streak to four games.
In many ways, Wednesday's victory was a carbon copy of the Spurs' 93-76 triumph against Dallas, another playoff contender.
Parker scored at will. Matt Bonner (15 points) and Michael Finley (13) outstripped their season scoring averages. The Spurs' defense knocked the Trail Blazers (35-22) back to the stone age, limiting them to 37.6 percent shooting, and holding star guard Brandon Roy to just 14 points on 5 of 18 shooting.
“The last four games, we've been the defensive team we've been in the past,” Popovich said. “If we can continue that, I think we'll be a pretty good team.”
For the second night in a row, Parker was the offensive showpiece for the Spurs.
He scored 12 points in the second quarter, 21 in the first half and 11 in the game's final 5:57 to put it away. He shot 17 of 27 and also handed out nine assists. By the time he was done, Parker had scored more points than any Blazers opponent this season.
His totals in the back-to-back: 76 points, 32 of 59 from the field, and 21 assists.
Parker had finished Tuesday night's game on fumes, beset by leg cramps in the fourth quarter. He learned just 40 minutes before that game that Duncan wouldn't be suiting up.
Wednesday, he had more warning, and more time to prepare for his nightly marathon.
“I prepared myself to be ready to play like 40 minutes,” Parker said. “I drank a lot of fluids, a lot of water.”
For the most part, Parker's teammates did their best not to become spectators.
“He's got the penetration game, the drive game,” Bonner said. “When he's knocking down jump shots, too, I don't know how anyone can guard him.”
Don't ask Portland coach Nate McMillan. Like Dallas coach Rick Carlisle before him, he threw the kitchen sink at Parker.
“He was like a roadrunner out there,” McMillan said. “Just blowing by us.”
It was an apt characterization. In this Warner Bros. version of Spurs basketball, the Blazers played the part of Wile E. Coyote. Every trap they set on Parker blew up in their faces.
Even when they defended him well, things went awry.
Rudy Fernandez had just scored a driving layup over Parker with 3.4 seconds left in the third, pulling Portland within 71-63. In a blink, Parker received the inbound pass, wiggled up the court and hit a contested 25-footer as the horn blared.
That gave the Spurs a 74-63 to take into the fourth quarter.
Later, Parker finished off Portland with a final scoring flurry, then beat a path to the locker room. With a day off before the Spurs welcome Cleveland on Friday, Parker was ready for some rest.
“It will be a good day off,” Parker predicted. “I'm going to do nothing.”
After two nights of doing everything for the Spurs, a little bit of nothing was well-earned.
Knowing just how to do it, Parker falls
Knowing just how to do it, Parker falls
Tim Duncan was out again because of pain in his one “good” knee. Manu Ginobili was out again because of pain in his one “good” ankle.
And there was Tony Parker, on the first Spurs possession Wednesday night, driving until he fell on his one, good head.
These three win together, and they hurt together.
The Spurs would have worried at the latest, except it was Parker. Maybe no one in the league crashes to the floor as often as he does, and how he falls outlines his prime as much as his jump shots and floaters do.
After all, he keeps getting up.
For Parker, maybe it's easier to play as he has these past two nights. Without Duncan and Ginobili, he doesn't have to worry whether it's his turn. He's free, and he can probe the defense until he sees what he likes, with nothing
else in his head.
“I love these opportunities,” Parker said. “I'm not saying I want to play every game like that, but if it's one or two games, you show what you can do.”
Gregg Popovich always wants Parker to be aggressive as a scorer. But there are green lights, and then there are neon ones. So Parker went after the Mavericks and then the Blazers as his onetime role model, Isiah Thomas, once did.
Just as back-to-back: Popovich called Parker “a super stud” for the second consecutive night.
Teammates waited for him, and Popovich rationed him. Parker rested in the fourth quarter until there were less than seven minutes to go, with the Blazers pulling within seven points. From there he returned to finish off Portland, including a play with about a minute left.
Then Parker somehow kept his dribble alive, squeezed through a crack, drew a foul — and fell to the floor yet again.
For the record, that gave him 39 points, nine assists and a somewhat low total of three knockdowns.
He says he's learned the trick, just as he's learned others. He didn't start to master his floater until several years into his career, and lately he's added a Steve Nash, off-the-wrong-leg layup.
On this one, he says he doesn't jump. “It's a really quick flip,” Parker said.
The entire package is only in place when his jumper is. When that's going as it was Wednesday, and defenses can't play under the screen, then he becomes what he has been these last two games.
As good as Chris Paul. As good as anyone.
But there's more to the package than most see. He jets to the rim knowing there will be an elbow or a hip waiting, and the play isn't over when he releases the basketball. Then, instead of fighting the blow, he gives in to it.
“I think it is safer for me go down than not go down,” Parker said. “I think a lot of times, I'm avoiding big contact. It saves my knees, too.”
Another camp disagrees with this. John Stockton never played off the floor, for example, and Jerry Sloan thinks that's one of the reasons Stockton had so few injuries.
Stockton missed 22 games in 18 years, a remarkable sign of a good body and better luck. Parker has missed about twice as many games as Stockton while playing about half as long.
Still, Thomas held up going to the floor, as has Allen Iverson. And scouts watch Parker and see why he survives as the others did.
“He lands like a cat,” said one.
Parker says he lands that way because, compared to those waiting for him in the lane, he weighs about as much as a cat. So he bounces off easily.
“I make sure I land on the palms of my hands, because then I can control it,” Parker said. “You start landing on your elbows and your shoulders, and you start having bruises.”
So he exhausted himself against the Mavericks, rested, drank a lot of fluids, rested again. Then he came out against a younger, taller, longer team — and went straight at the basket on the first play.
Parker arced in a one-hand push shot from the side, and with that the Blazers 7-foot-1 center, Joel Przybilla, swatted him down. Parker then did what he's learned to do.
Standing up, with two good knees and two good ankles, he added 37 more points.
Professionalism pays off for Spurs reserves
Professionalism pays off for Spurs reserves
By Mike Monroe
Long after most Spurs practices have ended and the Big Three have either headed for home, or reported to the athletic trainers for some sort of treatment, the players at the end of the bench remain on the team's practice court for intensely competitive, round-robin, one-on-one games.
At stake is nothing more than bragging rights for 24 hours, but the games are an exercise in professionalism for players like Ime Udoka, Jacque Vaughn, Malik Hairston and Fabricio Oberto.
Udoka had played 10 minutes in the five games that preceded the Spurs' back-to-back home games against the Mavericks and Trail Blazers on Tuesday and Wednesday. He logged slightly more than 29 minutes in those two. His defense contributed to holding both teams under 40 percent shooting.
The one-on-one games contribute to his being ready for the opportunity.
“If you're not getting the time on the court, you've got to make it up somehow,” said Udoka, who had six points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals against the Trail Blazers. “There's no way to simulate real game action, but if you play one-on-one like that, it also helps you get some energy and frustration out and work up some sweat.”
Injuries to Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan created opportunity for Udoka, and he was ready to take advantage.
“We've got a group of character guys,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “(Ime) earns his money. Whether he's playing or not, he's ready to play. Guys like him and Jacque, and Fab, when he was sitting, do what they're supposed to do to be ready to help their teammates. That's just a tribute to their character.”
After having a regular place in the game-night playing rotation last season, adjusting to spot duty isn't easy.
“You just have to accept that one night you might not play at all, and another night, you might get significant minutes,” Udoka said. “You have to mentally prepare yourself for it.
“It's not what you'd like. It's not ideal. But if you keep your mental side right and you're ready for all situations, all it takes is one game to get back in the mix.”
Udoka gained a spot in the Spurs' mix last season because of his defensive tenacity and toughness. With Duncan's right knee ailing, his defensive traits are useful to the Spurs.
“We're a smaller, quicker, scrappy team,” Udoka said of the Duncan-less Spurs. “That's how we've been the last two games, out there hustling, and getting each others' backs. That's the one thing Pop has commented on, both at halftime and after the game: the defensive effort.
“That's what we're going to have to do to make up for the lack of scoring with Tim out.”
I know it's already posted but I compete this series of srticles
Duncan requires rest, not surgery
Duncan requires rest, not surgery
By Mike Monroe
The good news from the doctors who examined Spurs All-Star Tim Duncan's sore right knee Wednesday morning: no initials.
No ACL, MCL, PTL, or any other combination of letters typically used to describe a torn ligament or damaged cartilage.
Rather, Duncan has tendonosis in his right quadriceps tendon, a degenerative condition.
Technically, the injury could be described as a minor problem with Duncan's RQT, but the diagnosis requires rest, not surgery. For that, the Spurs are grateful.
“It's none of those letter things,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “He's got (tendonosis), so we'll see how he feels on Friday.”
Asked if Duncan would have been able to suit up had Tuesday's and Wednesday's games been playoff games, Popovich guessed that Duncan would have threatened him with physical harm in an effort to play.
Nothing would have changed Popovich's resolve to prevent it.
“I don't think he would (have played),” Popovich said. “(Tuesday) night, he had no strength in the leg. It didn't loosen up at all, and he wouldn't have been able to do a damn thing, so it would have been detrimental.
“He would have wanted to play. He would have tried to beat me up to play, probably, but it wouldn't have done any good.
“It's not quite as bad (Wednesday). Hopefully, by Friday he'll be in better shape.”
Newest Spur: While the timing suggested otherwise, Duncan's injury had nothing to do with the Spurs' decision to sign forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu.
Mensah-Bonsu, a 6-foot-10 forward who played eight games with the Spurs' Austin Toros team of the NBA D-League, was on his way to San Antonio long before Duncan's knee flare-up happened. He signed a 10-day contract Wednesday morning.
He averaged 26.6 points and 13 rebounds for the Toros.
Mensah-Bonsu was activated for Wednesday's game when Duncan was declared out for the second straight night.
Mensah-Bonsu, 26, said his time in Austin was long enough to gain a rudimentary knowledge of the Spurs' systems. The Spurs own the Toros, and coach Quin Snyder runs most of the same plays and defenses that the Spurs utilize.
“I'm at a great advantage right now,” said Mensah-Bonsu, “because 80 percent of the whole system we use in Austin is the Spurs system. This morning, when we were going over things, it was second nature to me. I knew all the offenses; I knew all the defenses. I was pretty much ahead of the game, which helps this 10-day process.”
The newest Spur played 12 games for the Dallas Mavericks in the 2006-07 season. A native of London, he played college basketball at George Washington in Washington.
In the Paint | Philadelphia Inquirer | 02/26/2009
In the Paint
Duncan out again
San Antonio forward Tim Duncan missed his second consecutive game last night because of right quadriceps tendonosis, a noninflamma-tory stress injury.
The Spurs listed the perennial all-star as day-to-day.
Duncan leads the Spurs with 20.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game.
The Spurs also said that Fabricio Oberto suffered a non-displaced fracture in his left thumb. He is not expected to miss any games.
Wizards star Gilbert Arenas told the Washington Post late Tuesday that he was practicing full-speed on his surgically repaired knee and was "running, jumping, dunking, feeling good."
Interim coach Ed Tapscott was not as effusive yesterday, saying that Arenas had gone through "a few contact drills" but that "conditioning is a question."
Detroit was beaten by Miami on Tuesday, then lost again yesterday to New Orleans. The Pistons have lost eight in a row, their longest skid in 14 years.
After the Miami loss, Allen Iverson pointed to shortcomings on defense:
"Our whole thing is not on the offensive end. We can't stop anybody.
"The way we're playing, we have to shoot 60 percent to win a basketball game."
Utah forward Matt Harpring missed last night's game against Minnesota with a bruised back. The former 76er was injured on a flagrant foul by Atlanta's Josh Smith on Monday.
- Associated Press
Dallas Mavericks need to hone their killer instinct | Mavericks/NBA | Star-Telegram.com
Dallas Mavericks need to hone their killer instinct
By JAN HUBBARD
Rick Carlisle likely has heard the term that basketball evolutionists have traced back to noted philosopher Dick Motta, but Carlisle did not use it Tuesday afternoon.
Carlisle was speaking to reporters in San Antonio after a Mavericks morning shootaround and talked about the rash of injuries in the NBA, particularly in the Western Conference.
Carlisle coached the Indiana Pacers in 2004 when the infamous brawl at the Palace took place at a Pistons-Pacers game, and he lost Ron Artest for 73 games, Stephen Jackson for 30 games and Jermaine O’Neal for 25 games.
"The thing that can happen that I experienced during the brawl year," Carlisle said, "is that when a team is missing so many good players, you show up to play, and a lot of times, the other team will let up and not feel like you have enough guys to win the game.
"In [2004-05], we won seven or eight games just because of that. You’ve got to be careful because if you underestimate a team that has lost players, that can make a difference on whether or not you beat them."
That was a detailed explanation for Motta’s "wounded tiger theory," which stated that if you shoot a tiger, you better make sure the job is done or the wounded tiger might have enough strength left to maul you.
Carlisle’s Pacers team amazingly went 44-38 that year and won one more playoff round than the Mavericks have won in the last two years. The Pacers defeated the Celtics in the first round and lost to eventual Eastern Conference champion Detroit in six games in the second round.
When Carlisle was talking about that season Tuesday, he knew that Manu Ginobili would not play for the Spurs that night. When he found out later that Tim Duncan would not play, Carlisle’s mood probably grew darker because he knew the rest of the Spurs would be motivated to prove they could still win without two of their three best players.
And they did that convincingly.
Injuries are a bigger part of the playoff race this season than they usually are. And how well teams attack shorthanded teams will play a big role in determining playoff seeding and who makes the playoffs.
The Mavericks aren’t the only team that has let down against a team missing key players. The Rockets defeated the Celtics and Spurs without Tracy McGrady. The Jazz had to play three months without Carlos Boozer and is in the thick of the playoff race. New Orleans beat Cleveland and Denver without Tyson Chandler. And yes, the Lakers didn’t miss a beat when Andrew Bynum went out, but right now, the Lakers are on another level than the rest of the West.
It’s obvious the Mavericks need Jason Terry to return ahead of schedule and some team insiders believe he could be back within a week. The losses to the Rockets and Spurs demonstrate how fragile the Mavericks are. In those two games, J.J. Barea outscored Dirk Nowitzki 42-23. If Dirk is not on top of his game when Terry is out, the Mavericks will have a difficult time competing with good teams.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich believes, however, that most of the injuries will be healed by playoff time and ultimately will have no effect on the outcome of playoff series.
"Everybody has injuries to some degree during the season, some more than others," Popovich said. "Come playoff time, everybody seems to get pretty healthy. ... You just have to deal with it and do whatever you can during the season to try and have the best opportunity to be healthy come playoff time. Because everybody knows you’ve got to have your horses to win it all."
Which is true. But how well teams play while some of their horses are out will have a huge impact on the last two months of the season.
Around the NBA: Parker scores 39 to lead Duncan-less Spurs past Trail Blazers
Mercury News Wire Services
Spurs 99, Trail Blazers 84: With Tim Duncan sidelined for the second consecutive game, Tony Parker scored 39 points and carried host San Antonio.
Duncan is day to day because of a right leg injury. Between Parker's 37 points Tuesday and Wednesday's encore, he has combined for 76 in back-to-back games without Duncan or Manu Ginobili.
Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich doesn't know whether Duncan will play Friday against Cleveland. He said Duncan felt better Wednesday, but added that the injury was severe enough that Duncan would have sat had this been a playoff game.
The Trail Blazers have lost five in a row on the road and have lost 11 in a row in San Antonio. Portland's
Greg Oden missed his fifth consecutive game because of a bone chip in his left knee.
Hornets 90, Pistons 87: David West scored 30 points and grabbed two key offensive rebounds on New Orleans' final possession, helping the Hornets hold off visiting Detroit.
With the Hornets leading 88-87, Chris Paul missed two runners in the lane, but West tipped the first rebound to himself and grabbed the second one cleanly. He hit two free throws after being fouled with 6.7 seconds left.
Detroit finished the game without Allen Iverson and Rasheed Wallace. Iverson aggravated a back strain sustained in Tuesday night's loss to Miami and left late in the first quarter. Wallace was ejected with 7:55 left after picking up his second technical foul in 27 seconds.
With 16 technicals this season, Wallace will be suspended automatically for Friday's game at Orlando.
NBA.com: Parker, Spurs not missing beat with Duncan, Ginobili out
Parker, Spurs not missing beat with Duncan, Ginobili out
By Art Garcia
SAN ANTONIO -- Forget the Rodeo Trip. The Spurs may be better off after the Rodeo Return.
A three-game homestand this week against three playoff contenders, one with serious title aspirations, could be the bonding exercise Gregg Popovich didn't get during the recently-completed annual trek mandated by the rodeo taking charge of the AT&T Center. The eight straight games played on the road this season left Pop, well, dissatisfied.
"It was just too disjointed to get out of it what you want to get out of it," he said. "We want to get the bunker mentality."
Instead, the Spurs got too many starts and stops, and too many trips home for a team that was supposed to be on the road. The first two games were followed by a four-day break, which meant a return to San Antonio. Three more games preceded the All-Star break before the final three games.
The Spurs never bunkered down because it never really felt as if they were gone. Now, they're back on their home floor and at least two familiar faces are gone. San Antonio has played two straight games without Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili.
Whatever adversity was lacking on the road has been made up tenfold. The effort from the guys that remain looks to be up that much, as the Spurs completed a rare home back-to-back by outlasting Portland 99-84 Wednesday night.
Tony Parker has done his part to overcome the loss of his famous cohorts. Just 24 hours after torching Dallas for 37 points and 12 assists, Parker one-upped himself by ripping the Blazers for 39 and 9. Friday's foe, Cleveland, has no doubt noticed.
"I prepared myself today," said Parker, referring to Duncan's late scratch the previous night.
"Speed is an important thing and he has speed," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said of Parker. "We tried every defense ... but he was like a roadrunner just blowing by us."
While Parker is doing his part to take the pressure off his teammates, the win was another example of San Antonio team basketball. The frontcourt of Matt Bonner and Kurt Thomas combined for a Duncan-like 23 points and 19 rebounds. Michael Finley had an efficient 13 points and six boards.
And then there was the Spurs' suffocating defense. One night after limiting the league's fifth-leading scorer Dirk Nowitzki to 14 points, eighth-leading scorer Brandon Roy also had just 14. Nowitzki shot 5-of-15. Roy, 5-of-18. The Mavericks hit just 34 percent from the floor. Portland, 38 percent.
"Tonight was similar to last night," Popovich said. "Our team defense was outstanding."
The Spurs obviously don't want to go too long without two of their studs. The hope is Duncan returns Friday with the Cavaliers in town, while Ginobili is likely looking at sometime next month. In the interim, Parker and his band of "no-names" are meshing together quite well.
It's not the Rodeo Trip, but one veteran of those extended vacations understands the positives that can come out of this week.
"We just want to continue to pound on the rock, as we talk about," Spurs designated stopper Bruce Bowen said. "And get better on the little things, as far as the defensive side. We understand that to do the things we want to do in the postseason, we have to pick up our defense."
This would seem to be a good time to catch the Spurs and make up some ground on the West's second-place squad.
"No question," McMillan said. "But it also presents an opportunity for some of the other players. Of course it does. Whenever guys are missing, and key guys like that, it's a different team."
A team the Mavericks and Blazers, two teams trailing San Antonio in the standings, couldn't beat. San Antonio has won four in row and is in position to compete a character-enhancing home sweep Friday against the LeBrons.
"You never know when you're going to have an opportunity in this game and guys are getting those opportunities," Bowen said. "We've been able to take advantage of it before. I'm glad guys are taking advantage of it."
AFP: France's Parker powers NBA Spurs past Portland
France's Parker powers NBA Spurs past Portland
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (AFP) — France's Tony Parker capped off a two-night scoring explosion with 39 points as San Antonio won their second straight without Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, a 99-84 win over Portland.
"He was a super stud," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said of Parker.
"He generated the offence for us, and his leadership on the floor was exceptional. He mixed it up really well as the game went on."
Duncan was diagnosed with right quadriceps tendinitis prior to the game and is listed as day-to-day, while Manu Ginobili is out for the next few weeks due to a stress reaction in his right ankle.
"I prepared myself today," Parker said after Wednesday's game. "I drank a lot of water because the other game Pop (Popovich) told us 40 minutes before that Timmy was not going to play, so today I knew he was not going to play so I prepared myself to play for 40 minutes."
Matt Bonner had 15 points and nine rebounds for San Antonio, which has won four straight overall, the last two in its return home from a 5-3 road trip while the rodeo was at the ATandT Center.
Those wins have come thanks to a more offensive-minded Parker, who has shot 32-of-59 from the field in the last two nights.
The Spurs used Parker's play to post a win over the rival Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday as he scored 37 points before dismantling another conference foe in this one.
Channing Frye collected 15 points and seven rebounds for the Blazers, who played without centre Greg Oden (left knee) for the fifth straight game.
Portland dropped its 11th straight against San Antonio, which combined to outscore its opponent, 55-38, in the first and third quarters to set the tone for the halves.
Most of that stellar play was spurred on by defence, something that Popovich said is the catalyst for his team's success.
"If we're going to do anything at the end of the year, we have to improve our defence," the coach said. "The last four games we've been the defensive team we've been in the past. If we continue that way on the whole, by the playoffs we'll be a pretty good team."
At the end of third, Parker nailed a running three-pointer as time expired to push the Spurs' lead to 11.
But the Blazers made one final push, cutting their deficit to four on Travis Outlaw's jumper with five minutes left in the final quarter.
San Antonio, however, had an emphatic answer.
Bonner drilled a three, and Parker scored the Spurs' next six points, sandwiching two deep jumpers around a driving layup and forcing a timeout by the Blazers.
"Tonight was an example where he (obviously) has the penetration game, the drive game," Bonner said. "He was knocking down the jump shots, too, and when that's happening, I don't know how anyone can guard him."
After the break in action, Bonner and Parker went back to work. The redheaded sharpshooter added a jumper before the Frenchman connected on two free throws and short shot that forced Blazers coach Nate McMillan to halt the action once again.
Brandon Roy scored just 14 points on 5-of-18 shooting and LaMarcus Aldridge added 13 for Portland, which shot a paltry 38 percent (32-of-85).
"I didn't play very well tonight," Roy said. "I was missing so many shots and I just needed to knock them down. (Steve) Blake and I needed to knock down our shots even if there is pressure on us.
"It is hard to win a game when you two starting guards aren't hitting there shots."
The Peninsula On-line: Qatar's leading English Daily
Parker sparkles in Spurs’ win
Los Angeles: With two of their brightest stars sidelined by injuries, San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker seized the opportunity to sparkle in the spotlight.
‘The French Flash’ tossed in 26 of his 37 points in the opening half, and handed out a season-high 12 assists, carrying the short-handed Spurs past the visiting Dallas Mavericks 93-76 yesterday.
Without Argentine ace Manu Ginobili (stress reaction in his right ankle) and perennial All-Star forward Duncan (sore right ankle) a late scratch, Parker put on an entertaining one-man show.
The speedy All-Star guard made an assortment of spinning layups, soft floaters and long jumpers to keep his flat-footed Texas rivals off-balance throughout the runaway win.
“Sometimes I like it when Manu and Timmy don’t play,” joked Parker after hitting 15-of-32 field goals.
“I know we’re not going to win a championship, but for one game, I have the opportunity to show what I can do. My outside shot was going tonight, so everything was working out pretty well for me.”
Michael Finley scored all 16 of his points in the second half against his former team, while Kurt Thomas added 10 with a season-best 15 rebounds in place of Duncan as San Antonio (38-17) improved to 19-6 since January 1. The Spurs held the Mavericks to their fewest points of the season, while limiting German juggernaut Dirk Nowitzki to just 14 points on 5-of-15 shooting, along with 10 rebounds. “Our main focus was to keep the ball out of Dirk’s hands,” Thomas explained. “He’s an unbelievable player; he shoots the ball extremely well. When he’s going, the Mavericks light up the scoreboard.”
Josh Howard scored 19, JJ Barera had 16 and James Singleton contributed 14 points with 14 boards off the bench for Dallas (33-23) which has dropped five of the last six meetings against the four-time NBA Champions.
Spurs, sans Duncan, topple Trail Blazers - Daily Herald / Utah Valley Local News
Spurs, sans Duncan, topple Trail Blazers
The Associated Press
SAN ANTONIO -- Tim Duncan and Tony Parker will rest up Thursday.
One needs it. The other earned it.
With Duncan sidelined for the second straight game with a leg injury, Parker scored 39 points in a dazzling encore to his 37 the previous night, and the Spurs continued Portland's misery in San Antonio with a 99-84 win over the Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.
Parker's 76 points in the past 24 hours pushed San Antonio's win streak to four with LeBron James and Cleveland coming to town Friday in the first meeting of the elite teams.
Whether the Spurs will have Duncan, who is listed as day to day with right quad tendonosis, is unknown. Definitely out will be Manu Ginobili, who is still recovering from an ankle injury.
In the meantime, Parker has almost single-handedly made sure San Antonio can manage.
"Tony Parker was a super stud again, and generated the offense again," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "His leadership on the floor was exceptional."
Channing Frye scored 15 for Portland, which lost in San Antonio for the 11th consecutive time in a streak that dates to 2002.
Guardian UK article.
Mensah-Bonsu Closes in on Deal With San Antonio Spurs
Mensah-Bonsu Closes in on Deal With San Antonio Spurs
The Great Britain power forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu is expected to sign for the NBA's San Antonio Spurs this week
The Great Britain power forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu was expected to sign for the NBA's San Antonio Spurs last night after being called up from the NBA's Development League.
The 25-year-old, 6ft 9in and known for his explosive leaping ability, was the leading points scorer for GB last summer when he started in all 13 of the team's warm-up and qualification games as the national side qualified for the European finals for the first time in 28 years.
After being shown the door by Spain's Joventut Badalona in a dispute over a shoulder injury earlier in the season, Mensah-Bonsu has focused his efforts on a D-League career with the Austin Toros, an affiliate of the Spurs, this season.
Having recovered from surgery on his shoulder, his 26.6 points and 13 rebounds per game in eight games for Austin, both league-leading marks, attracted the attention of the NBA. He had a try-out period with the Toronto Raptors before San Antonio, NBA champions four times in the last 10 seasons, offered him a contract.
This will be the Tottenham-born forward's second spell in the NBA. In 2007 he was called up from the D-League by the Dallas Mavericks for the last three months of the season but returned to Europe to play in Treviso after failing to get his contract renewed.
© Guardian News & Media 2008
Beaten by 'a roadrunner' - Behind The Blazers Beat - The Oregonian - OregonLive.com
Beaten by 'a roadrunner'
by Jason Quick, The Oregonian
SAN ANTONIO -- If ever there was a chance for the Trail Blazers to end their hex in San Antonio, it was Wednesday night, when the Spurs were without injured stars Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili.
As it turned out, all the Spurs needed was Tony Parker.
The speedy guard zigged, zagged and zipped his way through the Blazers defense on his way to 39 points and nine assists, leading the Spurs to a 99-84 win at the AT&T Center. The Blazers have lost 11 in a row in San Antonio, and rarely have they been close, losing those 11games by an average of 15.6 points.
If there's any solace, not many teams have been able to keep pace with the Spurs (39-17), who keep motoring despite an aging roster. A big reason for the Spurs' stranglehold on the Western Conference's second best record has been Parker, who has taken on a more aggressive role since Duncan has been unable to play because of a balky hamstring. On Tuesday against Dallas, Parker had 37 points in a rout against Dallas.
On Wednesday, he was spectacular, if not breath-taking, blending spin moves with darting quickness while also displaying a deadly outside shot.
"He was like a roadrunner," a solemn Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "He was just blowing by us."
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was just as flattering.
"He was a super stud," Popovich said.
For all of Parker's heroics, the Blazers were within 84-80 with 5:00 left in the game, but in what McMillan called the play of the game, Parker spun off a double pick and found Matt Bonner, the NBA's top three-point shooter, at the top of the arc. Bonner hit the three, causing McMillan to throw his hands above his head in disgust, and the Blazers never got closer than five the rest of the way.
It was another frustrating road result for the Blazers (35-22), who played well for stretches, but never long enough to put a serious scare into the defensive-minded Spurs. Portland shot 37.6 percent from the field -- their lowest since opening night at the Lakers -- which was caused equally by the Spurs' defense and too many misses on wide open attempts.
What made this one tough to swallow was the Blazers played sharp, tying their season low for turnovers (six) and got a needed shot-in-the-arm from their bench. The only problem was their stalwarts had a decidedly off night.
Steve Blake was 0 for 9 with one assist and called his performance "as bad of a game as I've played all year." Brandon Roy was 5 for 18 from the field, missing several floaters in the lane.
"It's hard to win a game when your two starting guards aren't hitting their shots," Roy said.
They weren't alone. LaMarcus Aldridge went 4 for 9 and Rudy Fernandez 2 for 8.
What kept the Blazers in the game was a stellar performance from the bench. Channing Frye led the Blazers in scoring for the second time in his career, finishing with 15 points and seven rebounds, and Travis Outlaw continued his hot shooting, hitting 6 of 9 shots on his way to 13 points. And Sergio Rodriguez, limited to five minutes on Tuesday against Houston, had eight points and seven assists.
"To beat teams like this you almost have to play a perfect game," Aldridge said. "We didn't."
It has become a common theme for the Blazers on the road. As one of nine teams fighting for eight playoff spots in the Western Conference, Portland is now 1-11 on the road against the other eight contenders. Overall, the Blazers are 12-17 on the road, including five consecutive losses, which has reduced their lead over Phoenix for the eighth and final playoff spot to 2.5 games.
There is little time to regroup, however. After Friday's game in Minnesota, the Spurs come to Portland for a Sunday evening game. That means more of the "roadrunner," who in two games against the Blazers this season has beep-beeped his way to 63 points and 20 assists while making 27 of 46 shots (58.7 percent).
"He's as good as you can get," Blake said. "His quickness, body control, ball control and his touch around the basket is second to none."
Notes: The Blazers haven't won in San Antonio since Nov. 9, 2002, when Bonzi Wells had 19 points and Ruben Patterson 12 rebounds. ... Portland is now 7-4 in the second game of back-to-backs. San Antonio, meanwhile, improved to 8-5 in the second game of back-to-backs. ... Popovich described the Spurs' defense as "outstanding" and "fantastic" against the Blazers. "The last four games we have been the defensive team we've been in the past. If we continue that way on the whole, by the playoffs we'll be a pretty good team." ... Portland has failed to score 100 points in the last 17games in San Antonio.
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