Parker scored 24 points, half of them in the decisive third quarter of San Antonio’s 93-76 win over the Bobcats 93-76 Friday night, clinching a spot in the Western Conference playoffs for the Spurs.
“Tony’s energy was great all night,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “He pushed the break, he moved the ball. His aggressiveness set a tone.”
After trailing by 10 at halftime, Charlotte got its deficit down to 60-54 midway through the third on a short jumper by Emeka Okafor. But the Bobcats went scoreless and committed six turnovers during the final 6:05 of the quarter.
“Every time you make a move, somebody is there,” Charlotte’s Primoz Brezec said of San Antonio’s defense. “They put pressure on your first pass. There are no easy shots.”
Parker shot 6-for-8 in the third period, which ended with a 12-0 run by San Antonio. Parker scored three of those six baskets and assisted on two others.
“We decided to play a little more defense,” Parker said of the third-quarter lockdown. “I had some good looks because we were pushing them on the pick-and-rolls.”
San Antonio’s lead widened to as many as 23 points in the fourth.
The Spurs, playing their fifth straight game without injured swingman Manu Ginobili, improved their NBA-leading record to 50-15. They are 31-3 at home, also best in the league.
The loss was the ninth straight for the Bobcats and their 18th in the past 20 games. They are 2-30 on the road.
Brezec led Charlotte with 18 points, and Jason Hart and Melvin Ely each scored 10. Okafor, the team’s top scorer at 15 points per game, finished with 7 points on 3-for-13 shooting and had 12 rebounds.
As a team, Charlotte shot 37.3 percent (28-for-75).
The Bobcats went up 13-9 in the first on a 3-pointer by Jason Kapono before a short turnaround jumper by Duncan started an 11-3 run that put the Spurs ahead by four late in the period.
Charlotte made its first three shots in the second, tying the game at 26 on a jump hook by Ely. A dunk by Duncan with 2:57 left in the half began a 9-2 burst that ended the half at 52-42. The Bobcats missed their final seven attempts before the break.
In reaching 50 wins in 65 games, San Antonio was three games quicker than their previous best, set in 1994-95 and tied the following season. … Dion Glover, signed Thursday to a 10-day contract, had two points, four rebounds and two assists in 12 minutes for San Antonio. … The Spurs have held opponents under 40 percent shooting 25 times this season. … Charlotte’s starting backcourt of Keith Bogans and Brevin Knight shot a combined 3-for-15 from the field.