SAN ANTONIO -- The San Antonio Spurs got one of their best players back on the court, but lost a longtime one for the rest of the season in a surprising move.
Tony Parker's return to the San Antonio Spurs' lineup offset the loss of Stephen Jackson, who was waived Friday. Parker scored 22 points and had 10 assists to lead the Spurs over the Sacramento Kings 108-101 Friday night at the AT&T Center.
Parker was 9-or-13 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free throw line in 34 minutes, after sitting out the last two games because of a sore neck.
"I feel good. Not too bad. We got the win and that's the most important,' said Parker who didn't take his first shot until the three minute mark in the second quarter.
"The first quarter, I didn't take a shot but I didn't do it on purpose. Pop (Popovich) definitely asked me if I wanted to shoot tonight and I said ‘I'll shoot tonight.' "
Jackson, in his second stint with the Spurs, was placed on waivers just hours before the game. The 35-year-old forward was a valuable contributor off the bench, averaging 6.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 19.5 minutes.
"We're getting ready for playoffs, putting our team together and what we want to do and who we want to do it with," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "We thought that making the decision with Jack was best for the group."
The Spurs have three games left on their schedule and are in a battle with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the top spot in the Western Conference. Coupled with the Spurs dealing with injuries to Manu Ginobili (strained right hamstring) and Boris Diaw (back), the move took many by surprise.
"I officially heard it today," said Spurs guard Danny Green. "I don't know the details or anything. I heard the news, I was just as shocked as anybody."
On March 1, Parker suffered a grade 2 sprain to his left ankle against these same Kings. He missed three weeks of play, and he had not played as well since the injury.
Tim Duncan had 18 points, and Kawhi Leonard added 15 as the Spurs (58-21) swept the four-game season series from Kings. Tiago Splitter had 12 points and 12 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the season.
Sacramento fought back in the second half and cut the lead to one, 66-65, midway through the third quarter. But Duncan ended the period with a bucket and a foul shot to push the lead back up to 10, 84-74.
Sacramento would not get any closer in the final quarter.
"They're a great team playing at home," said Kings guard Jimmer Fredette. "We were down by ten at the half, but we were in striking distance. We played well in the third quarter but then let it go late in the third quarter."
The Kings (28-51) were led in scoring by DeMarcus Cousins, who had 19 points and 12 rebounds. Jason Thompson added 18, Toney Douglas 15, Jimmer Fredette 14 and Patrick Patterson 14 and Marcus Thornton 12.
"I told the guys in the locker room, if we played an even game we would have had a slimmer chance to steal the game tonight," said Kings coach Keith Smart. "They (Spurs) made a lot of great plays as they always do."
The Spurs took a 60-50 lead into the locker room at halftime. Parker, who was 5-for-5 in the first half, led the Spurs with 13 points.
Notes: San Antonio announced that Diaw had successful surgery to remove a synovial cyst from his back (lumbar spine). The surgery, which was performed Thursday, is expected to keep Diaw out 3-4 weeks. Diaw is averaging 5.8 points and 3.4 rebounds in 23 minutes. ... The Spurs made a $100,000 donation to the Texas Christian University AddRan College of Liberal Arts to fund the LCpl Benjamin Whetstone Schmidt Professorship in History during the game. Schmidt, late son of Spurs team physician Dr. David Schmidt, was a Marine sniper killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan. ... The Sacramento Bee reported that a group of wealthy Sacramento investors have a strong interest in purchasing the Sacramento Kings and keeping them from moving to Seattle by matching the current bid. The Kings owners are in an agreement with a group of Seattle investors to move them there next season.