Parker scores 26 to help Spurs get past Raptors

Unable to comfortably separate from the young Toronto Raptors,

the San Antonio Spurs turned to a proven finishing formula – Tony

Parker driving for layups when he wasn’t kicking the ball to open

teammates on the perimeter.

Parker had 26 points and eight assists and San Antonio beat

Toronto 112-99 Monday night.

”We won that game because of Tony Parker’s aggressiveness,”

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. ”His juice; his aggression all

night long. And we made some 3s in the fourth quarter. Those are

the two reasons we won the game.”

Parker had eight points and three assists in the final quarter,

committing just one turnover in 9 minutes.

”A win is a win,” Parker said. ”They’ve been playing well,

the Raptors. They had a big win in (Oklahoma City) and they made it

hard on us.”

Coming off a 104-98 victory over the Thunder on Sunday, the

Raptors got within three or less on numerous occasions in the

second half, but couldn’t complete the rallies against the

Spurs.

”It was a superior team, I think, first of all,” Toronto coach

Dwane Casey said. ”You talk about one of the top teams in the

West. Talking to the Oklahoma City coach, they feel the same way

about how tough San Antonio is.”

Toronto trailed 57-56 after DeMar DeRozan’s 3 with 9:22 left in

the third quarter, but Parker and Tim Duncan combined for eight

points to rebuilding San Antonio’s lead to 67-59.

In his second game off the bench after starting the Spurs’ first

26 games, Danny Green hit a pair of 3s to put San Antonio up 90-80

with just under 8 minutes remaining.

Green was 4 for 6 on 3-pointers in scoring 14 points for the

Spurs (21-7).

”I didn’t bench him because he wasn’t making shots,” Popovich

said. ”You don’t bench people because they’re not making shots. We

changed the look and changed the rotation a little bit. It could

change again.”

The change helped San Antonio overcome a Toronto team that had

gone 4-2 since trading leading scorer Rudy Gay to Sacramento on

Dec. 9.

Kyle Lowry and Terrence Ross had 23 points each and DeRozan

added 13 points for the Raptors (11-15).

Ross was 3 for 6 on 3s and 10 for 16 overall.

Toronto kept pace despite giving up 16 offensive rebounds, being

outscored 52-36 in the paint and allowing San Antonio to score a

season-high 24 second-chance points. The Raptors also had 13

turnovers.

”That was the kicker,” Casey said. ”That was difference in

the game, our turnovers and the defensive glass. We didn’t do a

good job of turning and finding the body and that’s mental fatigue.

We had been doing a good job of keeping people off the glass and

attacking the basket, but you’re not talking about chopped liver in

San Antonio. They are going to be in the money at the end of the

season.”

The bench again provided San Antonio a lift, with Ginobili and

Patty Mills each hitting a 3 as the reserves outscored their peers

18-2 in the second quarter. Ginobili’s 3 gave the Spurs their

largest lead at 52-43 with 2:20 remaining in the half.

Still, Toronto closed a three-game road trip with victories over

Oklahoma City and the Dallas Mavericks.

”We’re happy with it, we wanted to be greedy and get 3-0, but

2-1 against these three teams is pretty good, we’ll take it,”

Lowry said.

NOTES: DeRozan was assessed a technical foul with 4:33 remaining

in the first quarter for continuing to argue a continuation call

against him after official Lauren Holtkamp warned him, `’That’s

enough.” . The Spurs recalled G Nando De Colo and F Malcolm Thomas

from their developmental team in Austin. De Colo had 31 points,

nine assists, six rebounds and four steals in a 131-94 victory over

the Delaware 87ers on Saturday. . Former Spurs C David Robinson

received a loud ovation, including applause from officials

Holtkamp, Danny Crawford and Tony Brown, when he appeared on the

big screen at midcourt to acknowledge his military service. . Steve

Novak’s streak of turnover-free play ended at 202 minutes after

entering with 3 minutes left in the game. It was the longest active

streak in the league.