Spurs 102, Bobcats 78
Gregg Popovich was back from a three-game absence due to illness
and feeling pretty good about the San Antonio Spurs’ latest
Tony Parker had 22 points and San Antonio never trailed in
beating the Charlotte Bobcats 102-78 on Wednesday night, extending
its winning streak to nine games.
The reigning Western Conference Player of the Week, Parker had
his way with Charlotte’s backcourt. The Spurs All-Star guard had a
game-high seven assists and was 9 for 10 from the field.
”He did it again,” Popovich said. ”He put it upon himself and
he comes up with two big baskets down the stretch. He’s really been
Kawhi Leonard added 18 points, Danny Green had 17 and Tiago
Splitter 15 for San Antonio, which has won 17 straight at home.
Ramon Sessions came off the bench to score a team-high 22 points
for Charlotte, which has lost five of six. Kemba Walker (16 points)
and Ben Gordon (11) were the only other Bobcats in double
The Spurs’ perimeter players attacked the basket aggressively
with Tim Duncan (sore left knee) and DeJuan Blair (fluid in right
knee) missing the game, outscoring the Bobcats 48-24 in the
”Basically, just bring energy,” Leonard said of the team’s
strategy. ”We wanted all of our guards to crash the boards tonight
and get about five or more rebounds from our guards. We just wanted
to keep our energy and pace up in the game.”
San Antonio set up Charlotte inside by going 9 for 16 on 3s (56
percent) and shooting 55 percent from the field.
”We just tried to move the ball and take good shots,” Parker
said. ”Tonight, it worked for me.”
Leonard opened the scoring by hitting his first three shots,
including back-to-back 3s that put San Antonio up 11-4 with 8
minutes left in the first. Charlotte battled back over the next 4
minutes behind an aggressive defense, forcing two missed shots and
four turnovers in an 8-2 run.
The Bobcats pulled within 25-23 at the close of the first
quarter on Walker’s 19-foot jumper, but Manu Ginobili sparked the
Spurs in the second.
Ginobili had four points, two rebounds and an assist on
Leonard’s 3 in the opening 2 minutes of the second quarter as San
Antonio extended its lead to 32-23. Ginobili finished with nine
points, six assists and five rebounds in 21 minutes.
Parker had seven points and five assists in the third quarter as
San Antonio raised its home record to 21-2 this season.
”He’s really playing at an All-Star level for us,” Green said.
”We need that especially with the guys we have out. With Tim being
out, him and Manu have done a great job of carrying us, putting us
on their back.”
The Bobcats were able to cut the lead to 11 early in the fourth,
but could get no closer as the Spurs’ lead swelled to 24 in the
Charlotte was 30 for 73 overall from the field (41 percent)
while committing 23 turnovers.
”They took care of business,” Gordon said. ”In the second
half, they just put us away. They were real sharp with everything
they did. They capitalized on all our mistakes.”
Leading by double digits throughout the second half, the Spurs
spent much of the second half trying to set up the newest Spurs,
Australian Aron Baynes. After playing 42 seconds in his NBA debut
Friday at Dallas, Baynes had seven points and nine rebounds in 19
minutes against Charlotte. He was 3 for 7, missing a couple of
”Baynes was good,” Parker said. ”It’s not easy to come in the
middle of the season. We’re rolling and playing good and he came
out with a lot of energy; banging, rebounding and setting some good
The Bobcats bench did outscore San Antonio’s 44-22.
Notes: Leonard was selected to play in the BBVA Rising Stars
Challenge on Feb. 15 during the NBA All-Star weekend in Houston. It
marks a return appearance for the second-year player to the game
that features many of the league’s top rookie and second-year
players. … Duncan has missed four straight games with an injury.
. Blair missed his 14th game of the season. … Bobcats P Byron
Mullens (ankle sprain) missed his 17th game. Mullens has played 27
games this season, starting 26. … Charlotte is 2-15 overall
against San Antonio. … The Bobcats are 0-2 with Michael
Kidd-Gilchrist, Jeff Adrien, Bismack Biyombo, Gerald Henderson and
Walker as their starting lineup. … Parker has led the Spurs in
scoring in six of their last nine games and in assists in nine