Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/27/13
SAN ANTONIO -- Tony Parker carried the Spurs in the fourth quarter Saturday, leading San Antonio to a 108-99 victory over the Phoenix Suns at the AT&T Center. Parker scored 31 for San Antonio, making 13 of 17 shots. He had 11 points, five assists and two steals in the fourth quarter, when the Spurs outscored Phoenix 27-17. As Phoenix called a timeout with 6:21 left in the game, Parker began to motion to the crowd for more noise and they responded. “I was just excited and the fans were behind us so it felt nice,” Parker said. “It was a tough game because we had a tough time matching Phoenix’s energy. I think we might have been a little tired from the Dallas game, but the fourth quarter we made the stops we needed and played a lot better. On offense we moved the ball and hit some big baskets.” The Spurs (36-11) earned their 16th consecutive home win, their eighth victory in a row overall. They beat the Mavs 113-107 Friday night in Dallas. The last two wins have come without Tim Duncan, who is out indefinitely with a sore left knee, and head coach Gregg Popovich. Spurs assistant coach Mike Budenholzer said that Parker has had to play almost by necessity as injuries have started to rack up. “With Manu (Ginobili) being injured, it’s probably given Tony more opportunities,” he said. “Now Timmy is a little banged up, so we’re almost down to no choices.” While it was Parker who finished the game, Ginobili (20 points) helped spark the run. With San Antonio trailing 82-77 near the end of the third, Shannon Brown swatted Ginobili across the face and was ejected for a flagrant-2 foul. “I saw a clear path and I thought I was going to lay it in and then I felt a hit in the head,” Ginobili said. “I didn’t know what happened.” The Suns seemed to come unglued at that point and the Spurs feasted. Goran Dragic was called for an offensive foul on the Suns next possession and then Michael Beasley turned the ball over. Ginobili hit four free throws to close the third quarter, then sank a 3-pointer to tie the game at 84 at the beginning of the fourth. Suns’ interim coach Lindsey Hunter didn’t think the Brown ejection led to the Spurs push. “We talk about being a ‘no excuse’ organization and that’s no excuse,” Hunter said. “We’re not at that level right now, but I can tell you this, it won’t be long before we are.” Michael Beasley led the Suns (15-29) with 25 points, and Jared Dudley added 23. Phoenix's P.J. Tucker finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Dragic had nine points and 10 assists. Luis Scola hit the first two of the first three shots of the game for Phoenix, but only scored three more points the rest of the game. Both teams were playing with a new coach on the bench for the third consecutive game. The Suns replaced Alvin Gentry with Hunter, who opened his interim term with two consecutive victories, including one over the Clippers. Budenholzer was in control while Popovich was at home recovering from an illness. San Antonio improved to 3-0 in Popovich's absence. Before the game, Budenholzer said Duncan’s injury is not that serious, but it was more Duncan’s decision to sit out, especially with a three-day break coming after tonight. He also joked about making one request of Popovich: “I asked him if I could get one game with Tim Duncan and (Popovich) just smirked,” Budenholzer said. NOTES: Phoenix's Jermaine O'Neal missed his third game because of "personal medical reasons." ... Channing Frye has yet to play this season for the Suns because of an enlarged heart. His status for the rest of the season is unknown. ... Last season, the Spurs swept the Suns in four regular-season games. ... The Suns beat San Antonio 137-91 in April 1989, which remains the worst loss in Spurs history. ... A large contingent of former Spurs front-office personnel has branched out to other franchises. Lance Blanks, former director of scouting for the Spurs, is the Suns' GM. ... Lindsey Hunter, who replaced Alvin Gentry as Suns coach last week, joked about his last memory of being in the AT&T Center. "It wasn't a good memory, I'll tell you that." Asked what game that was, Hunter snapped, "The finals, man!" That would be the 2007 Finals when the Spurs beat the Pistons in seven games.
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