San Antonio (23-6) at Portland (13-13)

Cloudy Currently: Portland, OR
Temp: 65° F
  • Game info: 10:30 pm EST Thu Dec 30, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Tony Parker seems to come up big whenever the San Antonio Spurs need him to — on both offense and defense.

Two days after sparking San Antonio to a win over the owners of the NBA’s best record, Parker tries to lead the Spurs to their fourth straight victory and eighth in nine games as they visit the Portland Trail Blazers.

Parker scored a season-high 29 points in just 30 minutes Tuesday, and the Spurs shot nearly 52 percent from the field (47-for-91) in a 115-94 victory that snapped Phoenix’s 11-game winning streak.

Parker is averaging 22.8 points on 59 percent shooting (51-for-86) in his last five games, helping the Spurs move within 1 1/2 games of Phoenix for the league’s best record.

Tuesday’s matchup pitted the NBA’s best defense against its best offense, with San Antonio holding Phoenix below 40 percent shooting (31-of-78) and 14 points under its season average.

Parker played a huge role in stifling the Suns, helping limit point guard Steve Nash to 12 points—all in the first quarter—on 4-of-14 shooting. Nash averages a league-best 10.9 assists, but had a season-low four.

Suns forward Shawn Marion, who entered the game averaging 20.2 points, was held to six points on 2-for-11 shooting. Aside from Amare Stoudemire’s 12-for-19 performance, the Phoenix starters went 9-for-40 from the floor.

“Everybody understood that defense is what was going to do it for us,” said Bruce Bowen. “We know they can score points, but let’s see what they can do against hands being in their face on contested shots.”

Tim Duncan had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and matched a season-high with six assists as the Spurs improved to 14-1 at home.

San Antonio, which has lost two of three away from home, opens a three-game road trip that also features matchups with the Los Angeles Clippers and Sacramento.

The Trail Blazers opened a three-game homestand Monday and were coming off a four-day break, but lost 111-104 to Philadelphia.

Darius Miles scored a season-high 28 points, Zach Randolph had 25, and Theo Ratliff added 13 points and 12 rebounds for Portland, which topped 100 points in back-to-back games for the first time this season. The Blazers beat Milwaukee 104-95 last Wednesday.

Miles continued to impress as a starter for Portland, scoring more than 20 points for the third time since replacing the injured Shareef Abdur-Rahim six games ago.

The Blazers shot 62 percent in the first half and entered the fourth quarter with an 81-77 lead but were outscored 34-23 in the final period.

“We let up and they took advantage and we got beat,” Randolph said.

Portland’s homestand ends Saturday against Golden State.

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