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In-form Tony Parker leads Spurs' charge

Latest update : 2009-02-26

France's Tony Parker more than made up for the absence of Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili has he led San Antonio to impressive wins over Dallas and Portland, scoring a combined total of 76 points over the two games.

AFP - France's Tony Parker capped off a two-night scoring explosion with 39 points as San Antonio won their second straight without Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, a 99-84 win over Portland.

"He was a super stud," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said of Parker.

"He generated the offence for us, and his leadership on the floor was exceptional. He mixed it up really well as the game went on."

Duncan was diagnosed with right quadriceps tendinitis prior to the game and is listed as day-to-day, while Manu Ginobili is out for the next few weeks due to a stress reaction in his right ankle.

"I prepared myself today," Parker said after Wednesday's game. "I drank a lot of water because the other game Pop (Popovich) told us 40 minutes before that Timmy was not going to play, so today I knew he was not going to play so I prepared myself to play for 40 minutes."

Matt Bonner had 15 points and nine rebounds for San Antonio, which has won four straight overall, the last two in its return home from a 5-3 road trip while the rodeo was at the ATandT Center.

Those wins have come thanks to a more offensive-minded Parker, who has shot 32-of-59 from the field in the last two nights.

The Spurs used Parker's play to post a win over the rival Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday as he scored 37 points before dismantling another conference foe in this one.

Channing Frye collected 15 points and seven rebounds for the Blazers, who played without centre Greg Oden (left knee) for the fifth straight game.

Portland dropped its 11th straight against San Antonio, which combined to outscore its opponent, 55-38, in the first and third quarters to set the tone for the halves.

Most of that stellar play was spurred on by defence, something that Popovich said is the catalyst for his team's success.

"If we're going to do anything at the end of the year, we have to improve our defence," the coach said. "The last four games we've been the defensive team we've been in the past. If we continue that way on the whole, by the playoffs we'll be a pretty good team."

At the end of third, Parker nailed a running three-pointer as time expired to push the Spurs' lead to 11.

But the Blazers made one final push, cutting their deficit to four on Travis Outlaw's jumper with five minutes left in the final quarter.

San Antonio, however, had an emphatic answer.

Bonner drilled a three, and Parker scored the Spurs' next six points, sandwiching two deep jumpers around a driving layup and forcing a timeout by the Blazers.

"Tonight was an example where he (obviously) has the penetration game, the drive game," Bonner said. "He was knocking down the jump shots, too, and when that's happening, I don't know how anyone can guard him."

After the break in action, Bonner and Parker went back to work. The redheaded sharpshooter added a jumper before the Frenchman connected on two free throws and short shot that forced Blazers coach Nate McMillan to halt the action once again.

Brandon Roy scored just 14 points on 5-of-18 shooting and LaMarcus Aldridge added 13 for Portland, which shot a paltry 38 percent (32-of-85).

"I didn't play very well tonight," Roy said. "I was missing so many shots and I just needed to knock them down. (Steve) Blake and I needed to knock down our shots even if there is pressure on us.

"It is hard to win a game when you two starting guards aren't hitting there shots."

Date created : 2009-02-26