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Friday in Sacramento, in the final 12 minutes against the Kings, who were without All-Star DeMarcus Cousins, Parker seemed to have found his confidence and comfort-ability on offense, as he guided the Spurs to a 107-96 victory, where Parker scored 11 of the Spurs’ 27 fourth quarter points, and he led the team in scoring, to end the Spurs’ four-game losing streak.By PAURL GARCIAProjectSpurs.comOver a week ago San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker scored 21 points and tallied 13 assists in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Parker would follow-up that performance with just nine total points, 14 assists and 10 turnovers in his next three games, which coincidentally, the Spurs also lost.
Here were some storylines from the Spurs’ 35th victory of the season.
In the first half, Parker still looked like he was dragging and the player that had been observed over the last three games. He had taken just five shots in the first half, and only connected on one of them, as he headed into the half with just two points. In the third quarter, Parker came out a little more aggressive, making two of his four shots in the quarter. In the fourth, it looked like Parker drank an Espresso or something to put a jolt of energy into his body, as he began playing freely, quicker, and started attacking the paint with both his speed burst and patience in observing where the defense would open a hole. Parker scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, with most coming by attacking the rim, but he even got one of his mid-range jumpers to go in, which showed a sign that on this night, Parker had regained his swagger.
Check out Parker’s production in each quarter Friday:
1Q: 2 points (1/2 shooting), 1 assist, 1 rebound in 6:49 minutes
2Q: 0 points (0/3 shooting), 0 assists, 1 rebound in 7:10 minutes
3Q: 6 points (2/4 shooting), 3 assists, 3 rebounds in 7:03 minutes
4Q: 11 points (4/7 shooting), 1 assist, 0 rebounds in 8:50 minutes
If you take out the first half, Parker scored 17 of his team-high 19 points in the second half on 6-of-11 shooting with four assists in just 16 minutes of play. Granted, it is just one game, but by the eye test, Parker looked more spry and looked like he had both his confidence and agility burst back in the final quarter. Now, whether Parker can sustain his second half energy and type of performance for Phoenix on Saturday remains to be seen. But on this Friday night, Parker made a resurgence.
The offense shows signs of improvement
With the head of their snake (Parker) beginning to penetrate and find his rhythm, the Spurs’ other players followed suit, as the team cracked the 100-point scoring mark, which they hadn’t done in over a week, by scoring 107 points and more than 26 points in three of the four quarters. Though the Spurs still had a tough time getting their shots to go in the basket, as they finished shooting 40% from the field, the team as a whole was still aggressive in attacking the Kings’ defense, as San Antonio earned 32 free throws, and made 29 of them. The Spurs also executed by taking care of the basketball, as the team only turned the ball over six times in 48 minutes.
Before Parker and Manu Ginobili got going in the second half, the Spurs’ points in the first half mainly came through Kawhi Leonard, as Leonard was aggressive in his drives, as he scored 13 of his 17 points in the first half on 5-of-9 shooting. For the game, Leonard finished with 17 points, seven rebounds, five assists, one steal and two blocks in 37 minutes.
Like Parker, Manu Ginobili also found his rhythm in the second half, where he scored 11 of his 16 points on 4-of-6 shooting. Though it wasn’t his best shooting night, Tim Duncan also put 12 points on the scoreboard with six rebounds. The Spurs got a mixture of their scoring from both the first and second units on the night, as you can see below.
Starters: 62 points
Bench: 45 points
Through eight games of the Rodeo Road Trip, the Spurs’ offense is scoring just 100.8 points per 100 possessions. However, Friday night the team displayed that they can still be a deadly offense, as the team scored 109.1 points per 100 possessions against the Kings – which is on the level at which the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors score on the season, who are the two best offensive teams in the league.
The Defense locks in
Though the offense has had its trouble all season, the defense has usually been the Spurs’ backbone. However, on the road trip, the Spurs have also fallen behind defensively, as they are allowing opponents to score 103.3 points per 100 possessions in their last eight games. With the Kings missing Cousins and still adapting to Head Coach George Karl’s new system, the Spurs were able to take advantage defensively and lock in on the Kings, as the Spurs held Sacramento to 96 points on the night, and just 96.9 points per 100 possessions.
Outside of the third quarter, where the Spurs were outscored 32-31, the Spurs’ defense never let the Kings score more than 25 points in any other quarter. In the most crucial quarter, the fourth, the Spurs really tightened up defensively in allowing the Kings to score just 18 points, while forcing eight turnovers. Though the Kings shot 48% on the night, most of their looks were contested, and San Antonio really grabbed hold of the game by forcing the Kings into 17 turnovers, which awarded the Spurs 24 points.
With the win, the Spurs improved to 35-23 on the season, with just 24 games remaining until the playoffs begin. San Antonio is now 3-5 on their Rodeo Road Trip, with their final game of the trip coming on the second night of a back-to-back Saturday against the Suns, who made some changes to their roster at the trade deadline. The Spurs are also now even in the month of February with a 5-5 record. Below is where San Antonio is currently placed in the standings in the Western Conference:
5th: Dallas (39-21)
6th: Clippers (38-21)
7th: SPURS (35-23)
8th: Thunder (32-27)
SAN ANTONIO - San Antonio's Cocktail Conference raised more than $115,000 for children's charities across the city. The Children's Shelter, Child Safe, Heart Gift SA, and Transplant for Children, will split the money.Mark Bohanan, owner and executive chef of Bohanan's Prime Steaks and Seafood, presented the checks on Thursday."That's what it's all about, giving back and especially to children that can’t help themselves. That's what makes us feel good," he says.Fox San Antonio and our sister station News 4 San Antonio are proud sponsors of the Cocktail Conference. Don't forget to mark your calendars for next year's conference, which takes place Jan. 14 -17.
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