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Spurs blow past Kings but lose Parker

The SportsXchange

SAN ANTONIO -- Tony Parker has helped lead the San Antonio Spurs to the NBA's best record. Now they'll have to figure out a way to stay on top without him.

The Spurs got back on the winning track, despite losing Tony Parker to injury, in defeating the Sacramento Kings 130-102 Friday night at the AT&T Center.

Parker, the midseason MVP for the Spurs, was driving for a layup four minutes into the third quarter, and landed awkwardly on his left ankle. He was helped off the court by teammates. A statement by the team announced that he sprained his left ankle. He had 13 points and seven assists, but did not return to the game.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich addressed his All-Star point guard's injury after the game, abruptly stating, "He'll be out awhile. It's a good one."

He will be sorely missed as Parker, the NBA Western Conference Player of the Month in January, is averaging 21.1 points, 7.6 assists in 33 minutes per game.

"Obviously a huge loss. He's been our leader all year. But we've played with all different kind of people throughout this year," Tim Duncan said. "We're not going to replace him, obviously, but we're going to change how we play for a little while."

Manu Ginobili picked up the slack, dishing out a career high 15 assists, along with nine points.

San Antonio finished with 41 team assists for 51 field goals, and shot 61 percent for the game.

The Spurs had seven other players in double figures, with Tiago Splitter getting 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Tim Duncan had 13 and 10.

DeJuan Blair added 16 points, Danny Green 15, Kawhi Leonard 14 and Matt Bonner 13, as the Spurs improved to 46-14.

San Antonio led the game from start to finish and was up by 36 points in the fourth quarter, when Patty Mills hit a 15-foot jump shot, making it 122-86.

The Spurs, reeling from a 105-101 overtime loss to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, bounced back after suffering their first home loss since Nov. 19.

"We really needed it," said Ginobili on the Spurs comeback win. "It was kind of embarrassing to lose the game like that (against Phoenix) after having the lead like that (11 point fourth quarter lead). We lost a great opportunity, so we were all very frustrated. We needed to come back and play right away. I think we showed it today, that we're better than that."

Marcus Thornton led the Kings with 25 points, while Isaiah Thomas had 18 and Tyreke Evans 10, as they dropped to 20-40.

Sacramento was hounded into 20 turnovers that led to 26 Spurs points.

"They (Spurs) just played good defense," Evans said. "They go hands on deflections, they ran off of our turnovers and we didn't get back. I think coach (Keith Smart) did the right thing in taking us out, getting new guys in and trying to get us going."

San Antonio started off hot, hitting a season high 34 points in the first quarter, and finished shooting 61 percent from the field in the first half. The Spurs had a 63-49 halftime lead, with 13 points coming from Green.

"We were down right away off the bat," Smart said. "We didn't have anything. In that time, I'm searching to get something to stop this onslaught. It was going downhill very fast."

Sacramento, trailing by as many as 19 in the first half, cut the lead to 14 when Evans took the in-bound pass from Thomas and threw in a bucket at the buzzer from 53 feet.

Thomas had 10 points at the half to lead the Kings.

Notes: The injuries are growing for San Antonio, as forward Stephen Jackson (sprained right ankle) and Boris Diaw (low back strain) joined Gary Neal (tight left calf) on the injured list. With Diaw sitting, Splitter is the only Spurs player to play in every game this season. ... Smart had a brief stay with the Spurs as a player. He played in two games during the 1988-89 season. ... Parker had a stellar February, averaging 26.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and shooting 54 percent from the field. ... The Kings waived guard Aaron Brooks. The Sacramento Bee reported that the Kings are working on a buyout of his contract.
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