Posted January 29, 2013 on
AP on Fox
San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has challenged Tony Parker to become a franchise player, and the veteran point guard has played like it with Tim Duncan out with a knee injury.
Popovich will be back on the sidelines for the first time in four games, but Duncan's return is questionable as the NBA-leading Spurs go for a ninth straight win and 17th in a row at home Wednesday night against the league-worst Charlotte Bobcats.
Parker was a crucial part to the Spurs' title runs in 2003, '05 and '07, and was just named an All-Star for the fifth time, but playing next to Duncan for his entire 12-year career has hurt his value in terms of how some outside the organization view him.
It's a different story inside San Antonio's locker room.
"He is unbelievable," teammate Manu Ginobili said after Parker scored 11 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter of Saturday's 108-99 victory over Phoenix. "... He is in that point of his career where he is so confident. He is doing so good that he can relax a little bit in the first half then when we need him, he starts making those jumpers and takes over."
Parker, the Western Conference player of the week, has taken over with Duncan out the last three games, shooting 62.7 percent and averaging 26.0 points and 10.0 assists. He's scored 20 or more in six consecutive games for the first time in four seasons.
"Over the last few years it is becoming my team and coach Pop is always challenging me to become the franchise player who closes games and makes good decisions with the ball offensively for myself and my teammates," Parker said. "I always take to heart Pop's challenges."
Popovich has been away from the team due to an illness, and he'll be back as San Antonio (36-11) tries to win nine in a row for the first time since finishing last season with 10 straight victories.
The Spurs, a league-best 20-2 at home, are riding their longest winning streak on their own court since a franchise-record 22-game run two seasons ago.
That doesn't bode well for a Charlotte team that's dropped nine of 11 overall, including Monday's 93-85 loss in Chicago, and five straight at San Antonio by an average of 18.8 points.
The Bobcats (11-33) have lost the last two in this series by 30 points: 102-72 at San Antonio on March 2 and 132-102 at home Dec. 8.
Led by Danny Green's career high-tying seven 3-pointers and 23 points, San Antonio hit a then-team-record 19 3s in last month's matchup.
Parker shot 10 of 12 and finished with 22 points and seven assists in that game as Charlotte surrendered the third-most points - and most at home - in franchise history.
Bobcats guard Kemba Walker, the team leader with 17.9 points per game, scored 23 while hitting half of the team's six 3s.
San Antonio, 14-2 all-time against Charlotte, faces Washington on Saturday in its final home game before a nine-game road stretch that bridges the All-Star break.
BEST OF MAXIM
San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will coach the Western Conference All-Stars for the third time in his career.
Popovich earned the spot after San Antonio beat Charlotte 102-78 on Wednesday, ensuring the Spurs (37-11, .771) will have the best record in the West through games played Sunday.
The Oklahoma City Thunder's Scott Brooks was not eligible to coach in this year...
San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan is one of the few players in the NBA who's extremely popular without being flashy or becoming normal to controversy.
In this occasion, Duncan is linked to violent incidents because of his newly released Nike Air shoes. As reported by WJLA.com, there have been a few incidents where three individuals were held at gunpoint for their shoes. The...
San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan expects to be back Sunday when the Spurs take on the Washington Wizards. Duncan's expected return time was posted on Spurs.com. Duncan has missed the previous four games with a sore knee. Even in his absence, the team has gone 4-0. With that, the Spurs are atop of the Western Conference with an incredible record of 37-11.Duncan's production...
The San Antonio Spurs had to play three games in a row without their head coach. Gregg Popovich was out with the flu, but in true Spurs fashion, the team didn’t miss a beat. They won all three games and showed why Coach Pop doesn’t need to necessarily be on the bench to help the team win. His way of thinking is ingrained in everyone, from the players down to every member of the...
Center Tim Duncan will miss his fourth consecutive game with a sore left knee, but coach Gregg Popovich will return to the bench Wednesday night when the Spurs play host to Charlotte, the San Antonio Express-News reported. Popovich was sidelined for several games because of illness, but the Southwest Division-leading Spurs have maintained the NBA's best record at 36-11. The...
The San Antonio Spurs pasted the Bobcats last night 102-78 led by Tony Parker's 22 points and two of TP's posts was done in style.
After a steal by Tiago Splitter, Parker was off to the races and heading to the paint. The only person standing between him and the rim was Kemba Walker. However, this is Parker we are talking about. You know, the crafty veteran guard who...
Gregg Popovich is scheduled to be back coaching the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night against Charlotte after missing the past three games with an illness. However, Spurs forward Tim Duncan is expected to miss his fourth straight game because of a knee injury, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
This week San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker and Tim Duncan were selected to the NBA’s Mid-Winter Classic in Houston with coach Gregg Popovich more than likely to coach the West All-Stars.
While it will be great way to cap the first half of the season, the team needs to make sure everyone makes it to the All-Star Break healthy and prepared for the remainder of the season.
With his ticket to the All-Star game punched for the fifth time, San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker finds himself in the same rare air as George “The Iceman” Gervin, "The Admiral" David Robinson, and Tim Duncan. This foursome has played in the All-Star at least five times or more.
As the All-Star game approaches, we take a look at Tony Parker’s first half and...
SAN ANTONIO -- Tony Parker led San Antonio with 22 points and seven assists as the Spurs notched their 17th straight home win, defeating the Charlotte Bobcats 102-78 Wednesday night. Parker was 9 of 10 from the field and 3 of 4 from the free throw line as San Antonio got its ninth straight win. The 17-game home winning streak is second only to the franchise record 22-game streak...
The San Antonio Spurs will be without Tim Duncan and DeJuan Blair Wednesday night against the Charlotte Bobcats.
Duncan (knee) hasn't suited up since January 21. He did participate in shootaround, but still isn't ready to go.
Tiago Splitter has been a gem all season and has played really well without the Big Fundamental in the lineup. He'll get all the time he...
Aron Baynes made his real debut playing extended minutes last night for the San Antonio Spurs against the Charlotte Bobcats.While his stat line may not look too impressive and he left some fans disappointed in the first half with his inconsistent performance, he provided some flashes of what he can bring during the second half and gave some optimism to Spurs fans.
The newly signed...
adidas, Dwight Howard, Jrue Holiday, Tim Duncan and others will debut special NBA All-Star editions of the D Howard Light, adizero Crazy Light 2 and the all-new Crazy Fast at the 62nd NBA All-Star Game in Houston. Inspired by Houston’s history of aviation, speed, style and atmosphere of NBA All-Star weekend, the new editions roll-out February 1.
The NBA All-Star editions...