Parker’s 37 powers Spurs to 8th straight win


Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A third consecutive San Antonio Spurs game was coming down to the final seconds, and Manu Ginobili had the ball in his hands again. This time, he wasn’t the hero.

It was Tony Parker’s turn.

Parker scored 37 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter and overtime, and the Spurs pulled off another dramatic win for their eighth straight victory, 112-106 over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night.

“As long as we’re winning,” Parker of another nailbiter, “I’m OK with it.”

There was no Ginobili clincher this time. Coming off beating Milwaukee on a 17-footer at the buzzer, followed by hitting a twisting game-winner Thursday at Denver, Ginobili muddled through an off night and passed up the final shot in regulation on a pick-and-roll with Tim Duncan.

Duncan charged toward the basket but flipped the ball to Richard Jefferson after being met by Zach Randolph. It was an open look for Jefferson, but his 14-footer didn’t even reach the rim.

That left it up to Parker in overtime. He made both his shots in the extra period, including an 8-footer with 1:01 left that pushed the lead to six and sapped the Grizzlies.

Parker wouldn’t have minded a crack at the final shot in the fourth, too.

“Definitely. I was ready,” Parker said. “I was ready, but I thought (Ginobili) made a great pass to Timmy. I thought Timmy was open, but he passed it to Richard and everybody was being unselfish. Richard had a good look, but it didn’t go in.”

Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins called a timeout after Parker’s final shot in overtime, exasperated.

“What can you tell them?” Hollins said of Parker. “The guy’s running down the court 900 miles an hour and spinning and all that stuff. What am I supposed to tell them? Stop him from spinning? If we had executed better offensively, maybe he wouldn’t have had some of the transition baskets.”

Zach Randolph had 24 points and 21 rebounds for Memphis. The Grizzlies played without leading scorer Rudy Gay, who was serving a one-game suspension following his ejection Friday night in a loss at Houston.

O.J. Mayo led Memphis with 27 points and hit a game-tying 3-pointer with 21 seconds left that forced the Spurs into overtime.

“We should’ve won the game as we played so well,” Mayo said. “Now it was all for no reason.”

Parker was 15 for 21 from the field and had nine assists. He put up a season high while scoring nine of San Antonio’s final 10 points in regulation, including just his fifth 3-pointer of the season.

Duncan had 13 points and 10 rebounds.

The Grizzlies left Texas with back-to-back losses after they arrived winners of four straight.

Mayo, returning to the starting lineup with Gay out, scored 13 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. Marc Gasol added 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Randolph collected his third 20-20 game of the season, joining Minnesota’s Kevin Love as the only two players with multiple 20-20 games.

The Spurs pushed their NBA-best record to 23-3, and are off to the best start in the NBA through 26 games since Boston went 24-2 to begin the 2008-09 season.

The Grizzlies hung with the Spurs despite missing Gay, who was ejected in Houston after sprinting down court midway through the fourth quarter to shove Luis Scola in the back, knocking him to the ground. The two had been tangled up on the other end of the court moments earlier.

Hollins was disappointed with Gay losing his cool and leaving Memphis short-handed, but Memphis had enough to nearly pull off the upset. The Spurs made eight of their first 11 shots and led by as much as 11 before the Grizzlies clawed back in the fourth quarter.

Tony Allen scored 15 points for Memphis in his first start of the season.

NOTES: Spurs G George Hill did not play because of a sprained right big toe. He hurt it earlier this week in a victory over Portland. … Duncan surpassed 21,000 points for his career. …The Grizzlies fell to 4-10 with Mayo in the starting lineup. They had been 8-6 since making him a reserve and giving Memphis a spark off the bench.

Updated December 18, 2010