SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 8 (Ticker) -- According to his mother, Tony Parker is 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.

NBA TV highlights from
Spurs-Nuggets:
300k
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 said.

Bruce Bowen scored 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting for the Spurs and did an excellent job of shutting down Carmelo Anthony, who 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 injury.

"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's 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 open shots."

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.