Parker leads Spurs past Pacers
Parker returned after missing San Antonio’s final game before the All-Star break because of a strained left hip flexor. Fresh off a four-day vacation with wife Eva Longoria, he scored 28 points to help the Spurs beat the Indiana Pacers 90-87 on Wednesday night.
“He didn’t get to stay in shape, he hasn’t been able to do anything,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “Considering that, my God. He scored, he moved the basketball, he was really important to us running the show.”
Parker said he struggled at times during his 39 minutes of action.
“I got tired in the second half and my hip was getting tired,” Parker said. “We’ll see what we do for the next game, but overall I was OK. Can’t do every movement, I can’t go full speed, but I’m a vet, so I know how to get by.”
Duncan said it was possibly the worst shooting game of his career, but he made up for it by “going Mo Malone on them.” It was a reference to Moses Malone, the powerful post player who spent his best years with the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
He joked that his futility padded his offensive rebounding stats.
“I got a jump on it because I was missing so many shots,” Duncan said. “I guess I knew where the ball was going.”
Parker said Duncan’s effort was key.
“That is what’s great with T.D.—even if he has a bad shooting night he’s always going to do other stuff,” Parker said. “He was huge on the boards, he was huge on defense. Even if he was not blocking shots, he was deflecting shots. He’s just a presence.”
The Spurs won despite shooting just 35 percent from the field.
“If you would have told me we would hold them to 35 percent shooting, I would think we had a chance,” Pacers coach Jim O’Brien said.
Duncan’s 11 offensive rebounds helped the Spurs take 16 more shots than the Pacers.
“We played hard,” Granger said. “We got our hands on a lot of balls. We just got killed on the offensive boards. That’s kind of been the tale of our season.”
San Antonio led 51-45 at halftime before getting hot in the third quarter. A free-throw line jumper by Duncan closed out a 7-0 run that gave the Spurs a 64-50 lead.
Indiana rallied at the end of the third quarter. Two free throws by Hibbert capped an 11-3 run at the end of the period that trimmed San Antonio’s lead to 69-67.
Indiana took its first lead of the second half early in the fourth quarter on Ford’s short jumper in the lane.
Granger made a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left to make it 90-87.
The crowd stood, hoping the Pacers could get a stop. Ginobili drove, but Hibbert blocked his shot. Duncan rebounded and kicked the ball out to George Hill(notes), who heaved a desperation 3-pointer as the shot clock expired. The ball was tipped around until the Spurs gained control and ran out the clock.
“That last play of the game was almost picture perfect for them,” Murphy said. “This isn’t the way we would have liked it to end tonight.”
NOTES: Pacers F Tyler Hansbrough(notes) still is out with an inner ear infection. He has missed the past month. … Hill, an Indianapolis native who started for the Spurs, finished with six points and four rebounds … Spurs F DeJuan Blair(notes) committed five fouls in 10 minutes of play.