SEATTLE, April 27 (Ticker) --
Needing a big game from Tim Duncan
San Antonio Spurs also got one from Tony Parker
Duncan had a huge first half en route to 27 points and 13
rebounds and Parker scored 23 points to lead the Spurs to a
102-75 trouncing of the Seattle Sonics and a 2-1 lead in
their best-of-five Western Conference first-round series.
The second-seeded Spurs lost Game Two at home, giving away
home-court advantage to the pesky Sonics. They also lost
center David Robinson
, who remained in San Antonio receiving
treatment for a sore back.
Gary Payton tries to catch Tony Parker, who was a step ahead of the Sonics all day.|
Robinson's absence moved Duncan into the center slot and the
superstar responded by making 9-of-17 shots and 9-of-11 free
throws, adding five blocked shots and four assists. He was too
much for the smaller Sonics, who repeatedly double-teamed him to
"Our double-teams at times didn't get there," Sonics coach Nate McMillan said. "At times, we were slow."
After briefly sputtering at the start, the Spurs raced to a
57-39 halftime lead. Much of it was Duncan's doing as he
collected 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
Parker made 10-of-15 shots as he established a season high. He
scored 13 points in the opening period before burying Seattle in the
third quarter. The rookie from France scored eight points in a
10-2 run that widened the lead to 77-52 with a minute to go.
"I just try to be aggressive," Parker said. "David is not here, so somebody else has to step up."
"What he did and who he did it against -- it was a tight game, he was making those moves and handling the pressure at 19," Spurs forward Malik Rose said. "I was a college kid with some acne at age 19."
Duncan and Parker led a stellar effort by San Antonio, which shot 53 percent (40-of-75), including 7-of-11 from 3-point range. It committed just eight turnovers while holding Seattle to 36 percent (31-of-86) shooting.
"Most of the time, we were taking the ball out of the net where we had to set up and play a half-court game," McMillan said. "When a team forces us to play pretty much the whole game in a half-court setting, we have trouble."
Antonio Daniels scored 15 points and Rose added 14 and
nine for the Spurs, who can wrap up the series Wednesday. The
three days off can only help improve the condition of Robinson's
"Elimination games are the hardest games of the whole year," Rose said. "They don't want to go home losing two on their home court. It's going to be really, really physical. There is going to be some elbows, some pushes, maybe even some punches. But we're going to keep our head because we have a bigger picture in mind of where we want to be."
Gary Payton scored 20 points but was the only Seattle player with more than 10. The Sonics got next to nothing from their frontcourt and were outscored, 48-28, in the paint.
Seattle also has injury problems. Forward Rashard Lewis suffered a shoulder injury and left in the third quarter. Lewis, who missed the last 10 games of the season with a sprained ankle, scored just six points.
San Antonio missed six of its first seven shots and trailed, 11-2. But the Spurs regrouped behind Parker to take a 23-21 lead after one period.
"The crowd was crazy and I just said to myself, `I've got to try and do something,'" Parker said. "I'm going to try and penetrate and get some easy baskets. You just try to play physical. Hey, that's playoff basketball."
"Rook (Parker) was attacking great and getting into the middle and finding people for open shots and making some shots himself," Duncan said. "We knew that when we got down that we had to grind it out. Luckily some shots started falling. We turned our ‘D' up a little bit and got some stops and got back into the game."
A three-point play by Rose gave San Antonio the lead for good at 28-25 with 10:28 to go in the second quarter and began a decisive 11-0 burst. Duncan had a three-point play before a driving layup by Daniels made it 36-25 with 7:25 remaining.
Payton answered with a jumper, but Seattle did not get within single digits again.
With the Spurs holding a 67-50 lead, Parker made a pair of layups around a basket by Seattle's Desmond Mason. After Daniels scored, Parker twice slithered inside for layups, drawing the foul and missing the free throw on both occasions.
A 3-pointer by Daniels with three minutes to go gave the Spurs their largest lead at 101-69.