Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/21/12
BOSTON -- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was waiting for Tony Parker to break out. That's just what Parker did Wednesday night, leading San Antonio to a 112-100 victory over the Celtics in the opener of the Spurs' five-game road trip. "This was his best game in a while," Popovich said after Parker scored 26 points and dished out six assists in the road win. "He hasn't really scored, he hasn't been aggressive for whatever reason. He's known it. He's been trying to work through it, trying to put a finger on it, we're not (what it had been) but tonight he played a complete game. "I thought he worked hard on (Rajon) Rondo; I mean, he's so hard to cover, he's so dangerous because he involves so many people; (Parker) did a good job there and on offense he was real aggressive for us and created a lot of stuff, so this is the Tony Parker that we're used to, that we have to have if we're going to beat good teams like Boston." Rondo put on a second-half offensive show, but it was Parker's steady play, plus 20 points and a season-high 15 rebounds from the ageless Tim Duncan and 23 points in 26 minutes off the bench from Tiago Splitter that allowed the Spurs to go to 9-3 on the season. Parker was 12-for-24 in the last two games. Wednesday night, he was 12-for-17, 1-for-2 from 3-point range, where his team was 8-for-16. "Pop, he was like, 'Are you gonna shoot sometimes during the season' or something like that," Parker said with a smile. "He was like messing with me because I didn't get a lot of shots against the Clippers and he was just telling me, 'I want you to be more aggressive.'" Duncan saw it differently. "I think Tony's been aggressive; I think he's a little out of rhythm at this point," he said. "He's been missing a lot of shots that he usually makes and he just made them tonight and that was kind of the difference." Rondo, who had four points and five assists in the first half, delivered 18 points and 10 assists after the break, hitting double digits in assists for the 35th consecutive game. He assisted on seven and scored the other two of Boston's first nine second-half and had four quick points and a steal to cut the San Antonio lead, once 16, down to six with 3:17 remaining. "We were right there because nobody could stop anybody on either team," said Boston coach Doc Rivers. "Hell, again, we shot 53 percent so the reason we were there is because our offense allowed us to stay there. But to me that was fools' gold, because the way we were playing defense you're not going to get a stop, you're not going to win a game." Paul Pierce scored 19 points (none in the fourth quarter) and Brandon Bass 16 for the Celtics, who lost their second straight to fall to 6-6. Bass's tip-in with 1:27 left was Boston's only offensive rebound as San Antonio ran up a 41-25 advantage on the boards and had a 58-34 rout in the paint. The game was the latest matchup of 36-year-old future Hall of Famers Duncan and Kevin Garnett, with Duncan and the Spurs getting the best of it. Duncan was in control of the inside from the start of the game and had 18 points and 12 rebounds through three quarters. Garnett finished with 14 points and just three rebounds in 32 minutes. Duncan and Garnett, born less than a month apart in 1976 (Duncan is older), met for the 41st time. Both are being nursed through a regular season by their coaches, whose goal is to have the older stars rested for the playoffs. This defeat came in the opener of a two-game home stay for Boston against two of the Western Conference's best; the Thunder coming in Friday night. "It's what we are," said Garnett. "We'll get better and as the year goes on I have a lot of confidence in that we will get better at it." NOTES: San Antonio's Danny Green hit two 3-pointers, his 30th straight game with at least one, the longest current streak in the NBA. ... The brief Boston career of journeyman center Darko Milicic ended when the Celtics waived him so he could go home to Serbia to be with his ailing mother. "It's pretty much unemotional because you never got a chance," Rivers said of his dealing with Milicic, who played only five minutes (all in one game) as a Celtic. "I'd liked to have had that opportunity, I thought we were building him. But you know how I feel about all the other stuff outside of basketball, I think that's more important."… The Spurs, who visit Indiana Friday, summoned James Anderson from the Development League to fill a roster missing the injured Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Jackson. ... Rivers on college player Jack Taylor scoring 138 points Tuesday night: "I can't even imagine. I'm sure that I've been on a team that's got (138 points); maybe. That's a hell of an outing. I couldn't do that in a gym by myself." ... Rivers admitted Tuesday he left Rondo on the floor in Sunday night's blowout loss at Detroit so he could get 10 assists, but added he knew there was a streak but didn't know how long it was. ... Celtics radio analyst and former NBA player Cedric Maxwell turned 57 Wednesday.
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