SAN ANTONIO, Dec. 11 (Ticker) -- Tony Parker
found a way to turn around
his past struggles against Steve Nash
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Parker scored a career-high 32 points and victimized Nash
several times in the process as the San Antonio Spurs took
advantage of Dirk Nowitzki's
absence for a 111-104 victory over
the Dallas Mavericks.
Parker averaged just 8.0 points and shot 35 percent in four
games against Dallas last season as a rookie while Nash averaged
18.0 points and shot 47 percent.
But Parker put on a strong performance Wednesday, making
10-of-16 shots and 9-of-10 free throws as the Spurs handed the
Mavericks just their third loss.
"I've never lost confidence," Parker said. "If you lose your
confidence, you can't do anything. I knew I was struggling, but
you just focus on your defense during those times and keep
working on your shot until it turns around."
Nowitzki was out with a sprained right ankle and fellow starting
forward Adrian Griffin
missed the game with a partially
dislocated right shoulder.
"San Antonio just did a great job of executing and making
plays," Nash said. "We hung in there, but they did the job down
the stretch to hurt us."
Despite missing two of its starters, Dallas ran off 18 straight
points in the second quarter and built a 47-31 lead on Michael
dunk with just over seven minutes remaining.
San Antonio closed the half on an 18-3 tear to close within
54-53 at halftime and Parker took command to start the second
half. He assisted on a pair of baskets by Tim Duncan
six points in a 17-5 run that made it 70-59 lead midway through
"He was incredible," Duncan said. "He was making passes and
making shots. That's the player we need him to be to be
Finley's 3-pointer got Dallas within 97-92 with under three
minutes left before Parker answered with his third 3-pointer of
the night. Parker made 7-of-8 foul shots in the final 52
seconds to seal the win.
Duncan collected 22 points and 13 rebounds for San Antonio,
which held a 50-35 edge on the glass. David Robinson
points on 6-of-8 shooting to go with 10 rebounds.
"You can't say enough about what Tim and David did," Dallas
coach Don Nelson said. "They did a great job. They definitely
opened things up on the perimeter. You just can't say enough
about the effort, especially because we were missing our big
guys, and missing that size definitely hurt us."
Nowitzki, who averages 10.7 rebounds per game, was sorely missed
on the boards as no Maverick reached double figures in
rebounds. Left without its best post-up option, Dallas launched
28 3-pointers and sank only 10.
Nash finished with 21 points and 10 assists and also picked up
five fouls trying to slow down Parker. Nick Van Exel
made a rare
start and added 16 points on 7-of-17 shooting.
After the Mavs' big run gave them a 16-point lead, their offense
went cold just as quickly as it caught fire. Dallas managed
only a pair of hoops in the final six minutes of the first half,
both by Popeye Jones
"Tonight was about taking care of the ball and playing defense,"
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "In the second half, we only
gave up three fast-break points compared to 20 in the first."
Parker nailed consecutive 3-pointers and had eight points in the
18-3 run to close the half. Dallas missed 10 of its first 11
shots to start the second half and trailed after three quarters,
"Duncan and Robinson basically picked us apart," Van Exel said.
"They were getting the same looks in the first quarter, but
their play definitely opened things up in the second half."
San Antonio extended its advantage to 90-73 on a pair of free
throws with 9:23 left, but the hot-and-cold Mavericks warmed up
again. Finley scored 11 straight points for Dallas and Nash sank
a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 93-87 with just over five
minutes to go.
Finley scored 17 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter and led
Dallas with eight rebounds. Raef LaFrentz
added 12 points on
The Spurs held a 28-12 edge in bench points, led by Stephen
17. However, Jackson made just 2-of-9 from beyond the
San Antonio, which won three of four meetings last year, is
43-11 against Dallas since the 1990-91 season.