Tony Parker scored 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a win over the Portland Trail Blazers, 99-83, earning them as well an 8-0 home record, their best start since 2007.
The Blazers had the lead entering into the fourth until Parker went to work, scoring 4-for-4 from the field and the charity line. He stole the ball twice and never committed a turnover. Tiago Splitter had 14 points courtesy of 5-for-5 from the field and 4-for-7 in the foul line. Tim Duncan and DeJuan Blair combined for 20 points and 20 rebounds to aid in the Spurs’ defensive end. In the end, San Antonio outscored Portland 34-18 in the final leg of the game.
The Trailblazers, on the other hand, weren’t as lucky as their main defensive big man Marcus Camby rolled his ankle during a tiff over the ball with Blair with four minutes left in the second quarter. Camby did not return to the game, and hinted that he might miss the next two to three games while the Blazers go on an eight-game road stretch starting with Houston tomorrow. LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 29 points, while Raymond Felton scored 13. Gerald Wallace and Wes Matthews each scored 12. Camby was the only Portland starter without a score.
Duncan was only seven points tonight on a 3-for-7 shooting. He is six points away from passing Gary Payton at 26th place in the all-time scoring list.
The Spurs are the only team in the Western Conference with a perfect record at home so far, but is also one of two teams in the West with a winless record on the road (along with Golden State). They play one more home game against the Phoenix Suns before the face the Miami Heat, who as of late has been beaten thrice. The win lifts San Antonio (8-4) back to third spot, just half a game behind Los Angeles and two games behind the West-leading OKC Thunder. Portland, on the other hand, drops to the fifth spot with a 7-4 card.
After losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Milwaukee Bucks, the San Antonio Spurs got themselves out of the hole, exacted revenge against the Houston Rockets, and continued their winning streak at home with a 101-95 victory over their Texas rival.
The Spurs needed five more minutes to secure an unblemished record at home with 7-0. Offensively, Tony Parker took the lead with 28 points and 8 assists. On the other end of the floor, Tim Duncan came back to his typical, old defensive self, gathering 8 boards, swatting the ball twice and stealing it thrice, and still contributing 17 points to the Spurs’ winning cause. He also passed Larry Bird in the all-time scoring list after making a free-throw at the second half. He came into the game just 10 points shy of the former Boston Celtic legend’s record. Duncan’s role was most evident at overtime, with 1:18 remaining, where he blocked a shot which led to a fast break and a three-point dagger from Richard Jefferson, ultimately sealing the game for the Spurs.
The road, however, has not been very cooperating with San Antonio, as they have yet to win a game away from the AT&T Center. They still have the luxury of playing two more home games, against Portland on Friday and Phoenix on Sunday, just before they hit the road again and face the Miami Heat on Tuesday.
Already missing the services of injured Manu Ginobili, the Spurs lost the just-sizzling TJ Ford to a torn left hamstring during their loss to Milwaukee the other night. He, too, will be missing four to six weeks of action. The losses prompted coach Gregg Popovich to make some adjustments in his starting line-up, with Kawhi Leonard starting in place of Gary Neal, who goes back to bench duties. Coach Pop also recalled Corey Joseph and Malcolm Thomas from the D-League to expand further their thinning bench line-up.
Kyle Lowry led the Rockets with 22 points and 7 assists, while Luis Scola had 20 points and just 5 boards.
Having stayed in the number two spot for two weeks, the Spurs slid down the standings to number 4 with 7 wins and 4 losses. Houston, as of this moment is at the cellar of the standings in the West with 3-7.
In the words of Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith, there’s a new sheriff.
Derrick Rose scored a career-high 42 points to lead the Chicago Bulls past the San Antonio Spurs, 109-99 in the first of two final games of the season just before All-Star break at LA(the Dallas-Phoenix game continues to ensue as of this writing).
The Bulls avenged a defeat handed them by San Antonio last November 17, a 103-94 loss that did not include a healthy Carlos Boozer on the roster. This time, Boozer gave a 15-point contribution to the cause, the only other double-digit scorer aside from Rose and Luol Deng. From the side of the Spurs, Tony Parker scored 26 and Manu Ginobili with 16. The Spurs, despite the high scoring output of most of their players, were sorely out-rebounded by Chicago, 41-29. The Bulls were also more accurate with their field goals and free throws compared to the Spurs, who will close out their annual Rodeo Road Trip with a 6-3 win-loss card.
The win further certified Rose’s run for an MVP award, just a year after he won Rookie of the Year honors. Rose is appearing in his first All-Star game as a starter for the East, alongside Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, Dwight Howard and Amare Stoudemire. Meanwhile for the Spurs, Tim Duncan and Ginobili will wear the West jerseys as reserves.
The Spurs are now 46-10, while the Bulls have a 38-16 record. The Spurs are still the only team on the 40-win mark, and are leading all teams in the league by at least 6 games.