Spurs 112, Wizards 97

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 12, 2012
Tony Parker scored 31 points in his return from a one-game absence to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 112-97 victory over the Washington Wizards on Monday. Parker, who missed Friday's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers with a strained right quadriceps, hit 13 of 18 shots and had seven assists. Tiago Splitter scored 17 points, Tim Duncan added 14, and DeJuan Blair had 11 points and 12 rebounds. The Spurs extended their winning streak over the Wizards to 12. Washington has lost nine of its last 11 and fell to 3-15 on the road. JaVale McGee led the Wizards with 21 points and 15 rebounds, and Jordan Crawford added 19 points. San Antonio went 8-1 on a road trip before the All-Star break, but the Spurs have been able to beat only struggling Eastern Conference teams on their current seven-game homestand. The Spurs lost to the Bulls, Nuggets and Clippers but have now beaten the Bobcats, Knicks and Wizards. Before the game, veteran Spurs point guard T.J. Ford abruptly retired following the latest scare to his surgically repaired spine, which once sidelined him for an entire NBA season. Ford was injured March 7 when Knicks guard Baron Davis elbowed him in the back, knocking him to the ground. The 28-year-old Ford didn't move for several minutes and wobbled while being helped off the court. Drafted eighth overall by Milwaukee in 2003, Ford also played for the Raptors and Pacers but never quite reached the potential that made him the Naismith and Wooden player of the year at Texas. Ford was injured just 55 games into his rookie season and underwent spinal fusion surgery that sidelined him through the next season ''I think I succeeded at beating the odds, of being the little guy, making it to the NBA and lasting as long as I did,'' Ford said. ''I think I achieved a lot. I know I didn't have the career I anticipated and everyone anticipated, me having been the player of the year (at Texas). But I think I still had a successful career.'' After trailing by as many as 18 points in the second quarter, Washington cut it to nine in the fourth but could get no closer. The Wizards' defense offered little resistance in the first half, as the Spurs took a 63-49 halftime lead while scoring 44 points in the paint. San Antonio hit 28 of 45 shots and had assists on 23 of those baskets. Notes: Gary Neal assumed Ford's backup point guard role, and Manu Ginobili moved into the starting lineup. It was Ginobili's first start since Jan. 2 . Ginobili left the game in the third quarter with apparent muscle tightness and didn't return. . Wizards forward Rashard Lewis missed his seventh straight game with a sore left knee. . Duncan passed Clyde Drexler to move into 25th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Drexler had 22,195 points. Duncan now has 22,207.
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