Spurs hang on to beat Thunder at home
SAN ANTONIO (AP)
Gary Neal scored nine of his 19 points after needing five stitches above his right cheek, as the NBA-best Spurs (47-10) moved within three wins of matching their total from last season.
Parker's final jumper was the only second-chance points in the entire game for the Spurs. It came after Manu Ginobili's circus shot, twisting under the basket, that missed the rim entirely before the ball bounced its way to Parker.
He dribbled back a couple steps and, with the shot-clock winding down, coolly hit the open look to hamper the Thunder's hopes of beating the Spurs for the first time in six tries.
Then again, few are beating the Spurs this season.
They returned from the All-Star break with their first home game in more than month, having gone 6-3 during their annual Rodeo Road Trip that kept them out of San Antonio the last three weeks. The Spurs will play two more at home before returning to the road, including Friday against New Jersey in what might be Deron Williams' debut with the Nets.
It was a physical game. A second-quarter spat left both Duncan and Durant, his fellow All-Star, getting whistled for technicals following Nick Collison's flagrant foul on Parker.
Parker crashed to the floor as Collison tried denying a layup. Parker leapt to his feet upset, and Duncan and Durant both arrived late to the exchange of shoves and words.
Both appeared to plead to officials they were trying to diffuse the situation, while Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Thunder coach Scott Brooks shared a laugh nearby after the technicals were announced.
Late in the first half, Neal appeared to get his right cheek cut from an inadvertent elbow from James Harden.
''It wasn't dirty or anything like that,'' Neal said.
Moments later, Neal fell hard to the baseline when Harden challenged a breakaway layup, and Neal left for the locker room.
The rookie returned with a bandage over his cheek and a hot hand, hitting two 3-pointers.
Notes: The Spurs recalled rookie G James Anderson from the NBA Development League before the game. He only appeared in the final second of the first half after Neal left the game.