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Spurs 104, Jazz 97

The SportsXchange

SAN ANTONIO -- Tony Parker had 22 points in his return to the San Antonio Spurs, as they defeated the Utah Jazz 104-97 in overtime Friday night at the AT&T Center.

Tim Duncan added 19 points and 16 rebounds. Kawhi Leonard also had 21 and Danny Green 15 as San Antonio (53-16) welcomed back their All Star point guard.

Parker, who sustained a grade 2 sprain to his left ankle on March 1st in a 130-102 win against Sacramento, was expected to miss the whole month of March but returned earlier than expected.

After the Spurs announced before the game that he was probable, Parker trotted out at the start of the game to the cheers of Spurs fans.

He was eight of 13, with five assists in 36 minutes. Parker scored seven points in the last 3:09 of regulation. He found Leonard for a corner 3-pointer that made it 88-85 with 1:06.

Parker seemingly iced the game, hitting two free throws with 10 seconds left, until Marvin Williams hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.

Then the 12-year veteran led his team in overtime, scoring six of the Spurs' 14 points.

His head coach was equally as happy to have him back, as Gregg Popovich stated earlier this week that his team's offensive play without Parker "continued to play in mud." The Spurs were 6-2 in Parker's absence.

The win also got Popovich his 900th career victory. In his 17th season, he is the 12th coach to reach that plateau and only the second to do it with the same team.

Parker hit his first shot of the game, a 15-foot pull up two minutes into the game as the Spurs opened on a 16-4 run. But just as quick, the Jazz returned the favor and went on a 19-2 run into the second quarter and went up 10.

Mo Williams had 10 first-half points as Utah led 41-38 at halftime.

The Jazz, who have lost the last 25 of 27 regular season meetings with the Spurs, were led by Mo Williams who scored 23 points. Al Jefferson added 18 points and 13 rebounds, while Alec Burks had 14 and Paul Milsap 11 as Utah has now lost seven of their last nine game.

The Jazz are wrestling the Los Angeles Lakers for the final playoff spot.

Notes: With his third rebound of the game, Duncan passed Shaquille O'Neal for 13th on the all-time rebound list. ... The Jazz had a tough time winning since the AT&T Center opened up in 2002. They are only 2-19 today against the Spurs, with their last win coming on Jan 20th, 2010. ... Utah coach Tyrone Corbin was a second-round draft pick (35th pick overall) for the San Antonio Spurs in 1985. ... With Parker back and Duncan playing as young as he ever has, the Spurs can again boast the duo with the most active wins together. In 12 seasons as teammates, they have won 588 games together, which is fifth all-time.
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