Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/19/13
ATLANTA -- San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, famous for resting his older stars and equally famous for not cracking a smile before or during a game, couldn't stop smiling about Tony Parker Saturday night. The point guard willed the Spurs to a 98-93 win over the Atlanta Hawks Saturday night at Philips Arena. "Tony is just incredible," Popovich said. "What a competitiveness. What a will to win. What a will to carry the team. He's really fun to watch, at both ends of the court. And he's been doing that all year." Parker really had to do it this time. Popovich rested Tim Duncan and the team was without the injured Manu Ginobili. But Parker orchestrated the Spurs' bench players for three quarters, and then put the finishing touches on the win himself in the fourth quarter. "I go to the paint and try to create," Parker said, "and if I feel comfortable when I go to the basket I always feel like I can get a shot up, my teardrop or layups. I've been doing that my whole life." He led the Spurs (32-11) with 23 points and 12 assists; Matt Bonner had 17 points, including three 3-pointers, and also grabbed five rebounds. Tiago Splitter had 14 points and seven rebounds; Kawhi Leonard added 12 points and five rebounds. "Parker is just really good," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "He's as good as they are in the pick and roll. He made some really tough shots. They made some tough shots and we missed tough shots." Kyle Korver hit a 3-pointer 40 seconds into the game and the Hawks led the Spurs for an entire minute after that. Korver, who finished with 19 points and eight rebounds, made four 3-point shots, extending is streak of consecutive games with at least one 3-pointer to 34, the longest streak of his career. Josh Smith led the Hawks (22-18) with 21 points and eight rebounds. Al Horford, who sat out Friday's game against the Nets with a strained calf and hamstring, had nine points and 15 rebounds. Jeff Teague added 16 points and eight assists. "It was tough," Horford said. "They made more plays than is down the stretch. We played hard and moved the ball. You have to give them credit. Tony Parker was great." The Hawks rallied in the third, taking a 61-60 lead at 4:49 that lasted exactly 17 seconds. They tied the Spurs at 70-70 with 50 seconds left in the quarter on Devin Harris's 3-point jumper. Both teams played Friday night -- the Spurs beat the Golden State Warriors, and the Hawks lost to the Brooklyn Nets -- but the younger Hawks had the advantage there, and the Hawks out-ran the Spurs, leading them in fast break points 22-5. But the Hawks lost the ball on turnovers more than the Spurs did, and the Spurs were stealing the ball, too. NOTES: The Hawks' Lou Williams will miss the rest of the season after tearing the ACL in his right knee in Friday night's 94-89 loss to the Nets in Brooklyn. X-rays taken at the Barclays Center were negative, but an MRI and examination by team doctor Michael Bernot Saturday showed the tear. Williams will undergo a period of rest before he has surgery. "Certainly devastating to us and to Lou," Hawks coach Larry Drew said before Saturday's game. He had yet to address the team about it but several of the players were aware of the prognosis. ... Drew said that John Jenkins would get more minutes in Williams' absence; the team had been trying to bring Jenkins along slowly. ... Drew opted to bring Devin Harris off the bench, not wanting to burn both of his point guards early against the Spurs. ... Spurs coach Gregg Popovich gave Tim Duncan the night off. ... Manu Ginobili, who is out with a Grade 1 left hamstring strain, made the trip even though he won't be playing. Popovich joked that Ginobili was there as "eye candy." ... The Spurs' next game is Monday at the Philadelphia. ... The Hawks will host the Timberwolves on Monday afternoon in their annual Martin Luther King Day matinee.
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