SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 8 (Ticker) --
According to his mother, Tony Parker
the most popular player in France. His performance Saturday
should boost his following in the United States as well.
With his mother sitting courtside and obliging interviews,
Parker had 20 points and eight assists as the San Antonio Spurs
defeated the Denver Nuggets, 99-90, to improve to 17-1 at home.
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It was the second straight time Parker reached the 20-point
plateau after managing just nine points over his two previous
games. He frequently penetrated Denver's struggling defense,
creating open shots for himself and his teammates.
Parker's mom may have liked it, but Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
wasn't particularly impressed with the overall team effort.
"A win is a win, but we weren't very sharp," Popovich said.
"Generally we didn't have guys focused and five guys executing
at the same time."
Among Parker's assists was a beautiful no-look pass to Manu Ginobili
, who completed the play with a finger roll off the
glass to cap a 12-4 run and give San Antonio a 44-32 lead late
in the second quarter. Ginobili, who converted 11-of-13 free
throws, scored 22 points.
"Tony did a really good job of penetrating," Spurs forward Tim Duncan
scored 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting for the Spurs
and did an excellent job of shutting down Carmelo Anthony
was held to just four points in each half. Anthony, who played
just two minutes in the third quarter, shot just 4-of-15 from
the floor in his fourth game since returning from an ankle
"San Antonio plays such good defense, but I'm also limited in
what I can do right now," Anthony said. "I could have been more
aggressive in this one but I'm scared to make a hard move on
this ankle. It's frustrating because I know what I can do."
The Spurs maintained a comfortable lead until Kenyon Martin
thunderous, two-handed follow slam cut Denver's deficit to 60-55
with 3:50 left in the third quarter.
Denver pulled within 70-68 before the end of the third quarter,
but Parker answered with a layup, and the Nuggets got no closer
than four points thereafter.
"I think both team played flat, not a lot of energy, and in the
third quarter they made a run at us," Parker said. "They did
good, they're a very athletic team. They're hard to contain on
the boards and they were doing a good job with their zone."
"We now know we can play with the best team in this league,"
Nuggets interim coach Michael Cooper said. "Turnovers hurt us,
particularly in the last five minutes, and there is no loss that
you take easily. But the effort was there."
Duncan scored 19 points for San Antonio, which has won 56 of the
last 73 meetings with Denver. His uncontested slam off a pass
from Ginobili restored a double-digit lead at 88-78 with 5:39
left and triggered a 12-6 run.
"Manu did a good job of moving the ball and finding Bruce in the
corner," Duncan said.
Bowen shot 5-of-5 from the floor in the second half and buried
three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.
"My role is to play defense, and I'm still going to do what I
do," Bowen said. "That is what I am here for. The way we play,
with the constant ball movement, I get the benefit of a lot of
Martin scored a season-high 26 points on 10-of-18 shooting for
the Nuggets, who dropped their sixth straight road game and fell
to 1-3 under Cooper.
Returning from a back injury that kept him out of the previous
two games, Marcus Camby
played 37 minutes and produced 10 points
and 15 rebounds for the Nuggets.