Parker scores 37 to lead Spurs over 76ers
Of all the impressive numbers on Tony Parker’s stat sheet, perhaps the most eye-popping was zero fouls.
Parker scored 37 points, Gary Neal added 18 off the bench and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Philadelphia 76ers 100-90 in a matchup of division leaders Wednesday night.
Tim Duncan had 16 points and 11 rebounds and Tiago Splitter scored 15 for the Southwest Division-leading Spurs.
Parker shot 12 for 24, made all 13 of his free throws and handed out eight assists. He played 38 minutes and never got whistled for a foul.
”I play team defense,” Parker said with a smile.
Lou Williams led Philadelphia with 22 points. Andre Iguodala had 17 and Thaddeus Young scored 16.
The Atlantic Division-leading Sixers fell to 4-2 during a seven-game stretch that coach Doug Collins termed ”Death Row” because of the quality of their opponents. After building a strong record early in the season against lesser competition, they beat Orlando, Chicago, Atlanta (on the road) and the Los Angeles Lakers. Their other loss was at home to Miami.
”This is a team that when you make a mistake, they will make you pay dearly for it,” Collins said. ”I have great admiration for them. Gregg Popovich is one of the best coaches in all of sports. They’ve done a great job without (Manu) Ginobili.”
The Spurs are a much different team on the road. But they outplayed the Sixers throughout to improve to 5-8 away from home. They’re 13-1 in their own building.
Down 83-71 near the midpoint of the fourth quarter, the Sixers scored seven straight points and had the crowd rocking after Jrue Holiday’s 3-pointer. But Neal answered with his fourth 3-pointer of the night and his free throw a minute later after Williams got a technical foul gave the Spurs an 89-80 lead.
Williams hit a 3 to cut the deficit to 95-90 with 1:46 left. But Parker nailed a jumper and Philadelphia couldn’t get any closer.
”Just one of those games everything was working for me,” Parker said. ”My shot was feeling good and everything was going.”
Starting center Spencer Hawes didn’t play for the Sixers. Hawes had missed 10 games with an Achilles injury before returning to play the previous two. Elton Brand returned to the lineup after sitting out two games with a sprained thumb, and had 11 points and 13 rebounds.
The Sixers missed Hawes’ presence in the middle as the Spurs repeatedly drove to the basket for layups and finished with 54 points in the paint.
”They share the ball and Tony’s been special,” Popovich said. ”He’s playing unselfish basketball and good defense.”
The Sixers committed just four turnovers to help them overcome a 55-30 rebounding deficit in a 95-90 win over Kobe Bryant and the Lakers on Monday night. They had four turnovers in the first 11 minutes against the Spurs, and 10 in the game.
Matt Bonner’s 3-pointer capped a 17-6 run and gave San Antonio its biggest lead, 71-59, to that point. Williams hit a pair of 3s of his own and the Sixers got within 75-67 after three quarters.
Iguodala kicked off a 10-0 run with a jumper and Young finished it off with a layup that put the Sixers up 38-36 in the second quarter.
Parker scored 10 of San Antonio’s next 12 points and the Spurs took a 48-45 lead at halftime. All of San Antonio’s 22 points in the second quarter were either on layups or free throws.
Neal, who averages 8.5 points per game, had 12 in the first quarter on three 3-pointers and 4-for-4 shooting – all in the last half of the period.
”He hurt us early and we can’t let that happen,” Iguodala said. ”We have to be more alert. We have to keep aware of guys who can hurt us and try and not let them get good looks.”
Notes: The Sixers shot just 11 free throws, making seven. The Spurs were 21 of 26 from the line. Collins declined to comment on the disparity in the attempts. He was clearly unhappy with some of the calls during the game. … Hawes had MRIs on his left Achilles and his lower back. Both were negative. … This was the second of nine straight road games for the Spurs, who are on their annual extended road trip because of the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo. The Spurs will return to the AT&T Center on Feb. 29 vs. Chicago. … The Sixers finish up the toughest portion of their schedule Friday night when the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Clippers visit. … Splitter, a second-year forward, and forward Kawhi Leonard of the Spurs along with second-year swingman Evan Turner of the Sixers were selected to play in the Rising Stars challenge during All-Star weekend.