Notebook: Spurs 98, Hawks 93



Posted Jan 20, 2013 12:00 AM

By Jonathan Cooper, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: No Manu Ginobili? No Tim Duncan? No problem — not with Tony Parker around.

The veteran point guard recorded his 10th double-double of the season, scoring a game-high 23 points and handing out a game-high 12 assists, and Matt Bonner chipped in 17 off the bench as the San Antonio Spurs beat the Atlanta Hawks, 98-93, Saturday night at Philips Arena. Tiago Splitter and Kawhi Leonard each had 14 for San Antonio, which won its NBA-best 14th road game.

Josh Smith led Atlanta with 21 points, while Kyle Korver added 19, and Al Horford pulled down a game- and season-high 15 rebounds. The Hawks fell to 13-7 at home, despite holding a 50-39 edge on the boards and a 13-5 edge on the glass and holding San Antonio to nearly six points below its average.

Parker was a maestro, especially in the final 12 minutes, when he scored 10 points, with a pair of assists, and set a pace that was as unpredictable in its tempo as it was unstoppable. Typical of Parker was one possession, when he took the ball in the left corner, started toward the basket, reversed himself, doing a tight 180, dribbling the ball to the top of the 3-point circle, with Atlanta's Jeff Teague in pursuit, then, jab-stepped, started left then accelerated to his right, drove down the lane and banked in a running one-hander over Atlanta's Smith high off the glass. The shot gave the Spurs an 85-75 lead with 5:25 left.

The Spurs also clamped down defensively in the final quarter, limiting Atlanta to 29.2 percent shooting (7-for-24) and 28.6 percent from three (2-for-7). The Hawks' cold spell even extended to the foul line, where they missed five of their 12 attempts. They pulled to within four points on a couple of occasions and to within three twice late in the game, but never got the opportunity to shoot for the tie.

San Antonio's second-half defense followed a first half where they shot shot 50 percent (20-for-40) and 50 percent from behind the arc (8-for-16). They'd go into the locker room up 52-42.

It was Atlanta's turn to shoot 50 percent in the third quarter, as the home team hit 11 of their 22 shots, and used a 7-0 spurt to take a 61-60 lead with 4:21 left. The lead, Atlanta's first since the opening two minutes, lasted 17 seconds, when former Hawk Boris Diaw hit a hook in the lane to give San Antonio the lead for good, kicking off an 8-0 run. Atlanta would tie the game but a DeJuan Blair jumper gave the Spurs the lead after three quarters.

In the fourth, Parker, who sat the first 3:47, came in with the game 78-75 and took over.

The Hawks, who learned earlier in the day that hot-shooting guard Lou Williams was lost for the year, with a torn ACL in his right knee, suffered another blow when guard Devin Harris had to be helped off the floor. Harris, who finished with 13 points, is believed to have a sprained left ankle and will be further evaluated in the coming days.

QUOTABLE: "He's evolved over the years and he's become an unbelievable finisher for us. To see the cracks he gets through, to see the plays that he makes, it's hard to see it when you're in the game. You know what he does but to sit there and watch it, it's impressive."
-- Spurs forward Duncan, who rested Saturday, on the perspective of watching Tony Parker from the sidelines.

THE STAT: 12:1: Parker's assist-to-turnover ratio Saturday night. The Spurs point came into the game 11th in the NBA with a 2.96 assist-to-turnover ratio. His lone turnover came right after his only steal less than 2:00 into the third quarter. He was clean in the first half, handing out eight assists, including six in the second quarter.

TURNING POINT: With 3:45 remaining in the game, following Smith 10-foot hook to pull Atlanta to within five then a stop on a rare Parker miss. The Hawks had a golden opportunity to make the game a one-possession game but could not cash in. Teague's lay-up rolled off, then, after Smith's offensive rebound, Teague missed a wide open three. Parker would answer with a driving lay-up. The lead was back to seven and Atlanta stayed at arm's length the rest of the way.

QUOTABLE II: "It was tough. They made more plays than us down the stretch You have to give them credit. Tony Parker was great."
-- Atlanta forward Al Horford, who had nine points, 15 rebounds and six assists.

HOT: The second quarter was a shooter's paradise, as San Antonio's Matt Bonner and Atlanta's Kyle Korver went toe-to-toe, both lighting it up in spectacular fashion. Bonner finished with 17 points on 7-for-8 shooting, 3-for-3 from downtown in 23 minutes. Coming into Saturday, he had made three 3-pointers over his last 10 games, during which he shot 3-for-11 and played a total of 79 minutes. Korver had 19 points, shooting 7-for-12, 5-for-8 from three. The five 3-pointers matched his season high.

QUOTABLE III: "If some guys aren't available other guys have to step up and Matty was one of the guys that stepped up. He did a fine job for us. [The three is] his main skill. That's what we hope he can do. He hadn't played that much but he keeps himself ready. He's a real pro."
-- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on Matt Bonner.

HOT II: Bonner's hot hand was contagious, as the Spurs shot 50 percent in the first half both from the field and from three. They came out smoking in the first quarter, shooting 52.6 percent (10-for-19), 52.1 percent from three (4-for-7).

NOT: The same team San Antonio Spurs that made 8-of-16 three pointers in the first half, took the collar in the second 20 minutes, going 0-for-8. Hawks rookie John Jenkins also struggled from 3, making only 1-of-6.

ROOKIE WATCH: With Lou Williams out, the Hawks were counting on their 2012 first-round pick, Jenkins, to be more aggressive. Jenkins obliged, putting up 12 shots. He made three of them, finishing with 12 points. While his shooting percentage wasn't what he'd have liked, coach Larry Drew was pleased with the youngster's aggressiveness. For San Antonio, rookie Nando De Colo had three points on 1-for-2 shooting (1-for-1 from land of trey), with an assist and three rebounds in 14:40.

GOOD MOVE: De Colo's value doesn't show up in the numbers as much as in his invaluable 14-plus minutes he played, giving Parker a respite early in the fourth quarter. The Spurs' second-round pick in 2009, played two minutes at the end of the third quarter then the first 3:47 of the fourth. While the Spurs saw their lead halved, from six to three, Parker was rejuvenated when he re-entered the game immediately taking the Spurs on a 5-0 run.

BAD MOVE: Not so much bad as puzzling. The Spurs were 0-fer from behind the arc in the second half, yet gave Bonner only one shot from three in the final 24 minutes.

LINE OF THE NIGHT: Checkout the parallels of the two shooters in the second quarter. Kudos to Bonner for the steal, the one thing that separated them.

Matt Bonner: 3-for 3, 2-for-2 from three, 1 rebound (defensive), 8 points, 1 steal

Kyle Korver: 3-for-3, 2-for-2 from three, 1 rebound (defensive), 8 points.

NOTABLE: Singer Mary J. Blige was among those in attendance...With the Spurs' win, Duncan has now been part of 824 career wins. He passes Gary Payton and ties John Havlicek and Sam Perkins for sixth place. Clifford Robinson is next, at 836 games...San Antonio evened its record at 4-4 on the second night of back-to-backs on the road. They are 5-4 overall. Atlanta is now 4-3 in second games of back-to-backs played at home, 7-5 overall,.. Korver pulled down his 2,000th career rebound at 5:18 of the third quarter. He also passed both "The Rifleman" Chuck Person and John Starks on the all-time three-point field goals made list, moving into 39th place...Smith was 5-for-8 from the foul line and moved into the top 10 in Atlanta history in free throws made, passing Eddie Johnson. He has 1,957 for his career...The Hawks' 50 rebounds were one short of their season-high.

UP NEXT: For the Spurs, Monday at Philadelphia, Wednesday vs. New Orleans, Friday @ Dallas. For the Hawks, Monday vs. Minnesota, Wednesday @ Charlotte, Friday vs. Boston.