"He picked up where he left off before he left All-Star break," said San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich of his All-Star point guard Tony Parker on Tuesday.
After 48-minutes of basketball, Parker guided the Spurs to a 108-102 victory over the Sacramento Kings in a game in which Parker scored 30 points and collected 11 assists. Parker received help from his Spurs teammates like Danny Green (21 points), Kawhi Leonard (15 points), Manu Ginobili (12 points), and Boris Diaw (10 points). However just because the Kings were a team without a winning record didn’t mean they didn’t compete, as Isaiah Thomas, Tyreke Evans, and Marcus Thornton forced the Spurs to earn the victory by keeping the game competitive all the way down to the final minute.
Here are some key points in the Spurs’ 43rd victory of the season, and one that made them 5-1 on their current Rodeo Road Trip.
Parker’s created his own territory
From the first quarter where Parker began with six points and five assists, to the second quarter where he would add seven points, nine points in the third quarter, and eight points in the fourth quarter, Parker was once again the driving force for the Spurs. Whether it was knocking down jumpers, slicing through the paint for layups and and-1 opportunities, Parker had the Kings’ defense at his disposal on his way to his 30 points.
With Parker scoring 30 points and gathering 11 assists, he put himself in his own territory.
Tony Parker is the only player in the league with multiple games of 30-point games, 10 Assists... and he has done it 3 times...MVP ?— Ric Renner (@RicRenFSSW) February 20, 2013
Green returns hot
One player who Parker found numerous times open from beyond the arc was Green who scored 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting, and most significantly his 5-of-8 shooting from the outside. Green’s 3-point shot was a huge boost for the Spurs’ offense and was instrumental when they were building a lead, or trying to create separation from the Kings.
The Rising Star continues
Though Leonard’s shooting numbers weren’t spectacular, he pitched in 15 points in the Spurs’ win as he knocked down two 3-pointers from the outside and was also driving and scoring inside the paint, while also earning trips to the free throw line.
Duncan finished with nine points on 3-of-8 shooting, but it was his rebounding and defense that were a vital part of the Spurs’ victory. Duncan once again controlled the paint by grabbing 14 rebounds in the game and blocking four shots on the night. Aside from Thomas, a majority of the Kings’ points came from the outside on jumpers.
Futbol or basketball?
One of the keys to the Spurs’ offense posting 108 points in their return from the All-Star break was because of the ability to pass the ball efficiently as the Spurs ended up assisting on 25 of their 35 made baskets in the game, as the team shot 47% from the field. Whether it was Parker driving into the lane and kicking the ball out to shooters, or the big men passing to each other in the paint, the Spurs’ passing was a major reason for their high scoring offense.
Why was the game close?
Even though the Spurs’ offense looked like it might have been clicking on all cylinders from a numbers standpoint, turnovers were a major deficiency on the night. The Spurs turned the ball over 17 times while their defense gave up 33 and 28-point quarters.
Los Angeles up next
The Spurs will have Wednesday off before preparing to face the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday. For Popovich, Duncan, and Parker, they’ll be facing teammates from a week ago in the West squad Blake Griffin and Chris Paul.
Where they stand
Here are a few stats showing the where the Spurs stand in certain categories in the NBA.
Season record: 43-12
Rodeo Road Trip: 5-1
Road Record: 21-10
Vs. Below .500 teams: 24-3
Vs. the Western Conference: 23-8
For Parker, defeating Sacramento on the road was something he considers sweet.
"Overall it's a big win,” said Parker after the game, “because every win on the road is sweet."