Parker returns, sparks Spurs

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 23, 2013
Tony Parker had 22 points in his return from an eight-game absence, Tim Duncan added 19 points and 16 rebounds and the San Antonio Spurs escaped with a 104-97 overtime victory against the Utah Jazz on Friday night. Kawhi Leonard added 21 points, including five in overtime, and Danny Green had 15 points for San Antonio, which remains 2 1/2 games ahead of Oklahoma City in the West. Mo Williams scored 23 points, Al Jefferson had 18 and Alec Burks 14 for Utah, which has lost three straight. Duncan has 13,113 career rebounds, moving past Shaquille O'Neal (13,099) for 13th on the all-time list. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich recorded his 900th career victory, becoming the 12th coach in NBA history to accomplish the feat and joining former Utah coach Jerry Sloan as the only coaches to do so with one team. The Spurs held the Jazz to 2-for-8 shooting in overtime after Marvin Williams' 3 at the buzzer tied the game at 90, drawing a heated tirade from Popovich for the defensive lapse. Amid cries of ''MVP,'' Parker capped the scoring with a pair of free throws with 17.2 seconds left in overtime. He went 8 for 13 from the field and had five assists after missing eight games with a sprained left ankle. The Spurs were 6-2 in his absence, but struggled offensively. Parker made his first attempt, drawing huge applause after hitting a 15-foot jumper 2 minutes into the game. The Spurs had a 12-0 run to take a 16-4 lead with 6:26 left in the first quarter. Tiago Splitter capped the run by tossing in a hook shot after missing an open layup off a bullet pass from Parker. Parker sat shortly after that pass, sparking a 17-2 run by Utah to close the quarter. San Antonio went scoreless for almost 5 minutes bridging the first and second quarters. NOTES: Parker is the only player averaging at least 20 points and seven assists while shooting over 50 percent from the field and 80 percent on free throws. ... Popovich's 900 victories trail Don Nelson (1,335), Lenny Wilkens (1,332), Sloan (1,221), Pat Riley (1,210), Phil Jackson (1,155), George Karl (1,122), Larry Brown (1,098), Rich Adelman (994), Bill Fitch (944), Red Auerbach (938) and Dick Motta (935). ... Parker is the only active player averaging at least 15 points, five assists while shooting over 49 percent from the field for his career. The only other players to do that are Walt Frazier, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Kevin Johnson. ... With its victory Friday, San Antonio joins Miami (31) and Oklahoma City (30) as the only teams with 30 wins at home this season.
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