Parker, Spurs Regroup In Win Over Heat
San Antonio 101, Miami 94
MIAMI, Jan. 20 (Ticker) -- After an injury to Manu Ginobili, the San Antonio Spurs stumbled a bit but regained their footing.
Tony Parker scored a career-high 38 points and Brent Barry made two clutch 3-pointers in the fourth quarter as the Spurs recovered for a 101-94 victory over the Miami Heat, their fourth straight triumph.
"Good basketball teams have to do that if you want to be standing at the end of the year," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "You have to play through that sort of thing. ... All that matters is the end result. The character of (this) team shows when you can play through that sort of thing."
The Spurs outplayed the Heat in the first half, when they led by as many as 15 points before settling for a 49-38 advantage at the break as Parker scored 20 points, penetrating at will.
"I had open looks early in the game and I knocked them down, so I kept attacking," said Parker, who made 13-of-18 shots and 10-of-13 free throws. "When Manu went out, I knew I had to take more shots. ... When you're feeling good, you're feeling good."
It was 58-45 when Ginobili - who missed eight games with a right foot injury earlier this season - came down on the foot of Heat forward Udonis Haslem and badly twisted his ankle. He remained on the floor for several seconds and had to be helped off by teammates. X-rays were negative.
Ginobili's departure triggered a rally by the Heat, who closed to 74-66 entering the final period and caught the Spurs at 76-76 with 9:22 to play on a basket by Shaquille O'Neal, who scored 23 points.
"We had to recover and say, 'C'mon, guys, let's win the game,'" Parker said.
"It wasn't shock," Duncan said. "They just made a run. Everybody makes runs."
A pair of baskets by O'Neal around a layup by Antoine Walker gave Miami an 82-78 lead with 6:12 remaining. The teams traded baskets before Barry drilled a 3-pointer and Parker sank a jumper to give San Antonio an 85-84 edge with 4:41 to go. "I try and come in and contribute and a couple of shots went down," said Barry, who scored all seven of his points in the fourth quarter.
O'Neal scored inside and was fouled but missed the free throw. That was Miami's last lead as Parker sank a foul shot, Bruce Bowen added two more and Parker hit a jumper for a 90-86 bulge with 2:52 remaining. A pair of baskets by Wade, who scored 36 points, pulled the Heat within 92-90 with 1:42 left. But Wade missed a tough reverse layup and came up limping, and the Spurs took advantage as Barry made another 3-pointer at the 1:09 mark.
"Late in the fourth quarter, everyone hit a critical shot," Miami coach Pat Riley said. "Tony Parker hit one, Bowen hit a couple and Brent Barry had the one which pretty much was the nail in the coffin."
On the next possession, Barry partially blocked a 3-pointer by Gary Payton. Parker provided the dagger with another jumper for a 97-90 lead with 38 seconds to play.
"He's been doing that all year long," Duncan said. "It's surprising the way he shot the ball tonight. But he got into a little zone there and got his rhythm down and came off and was real confident with his shot. The kid had an unbelievable night and he's had an unbelievable year."
Bowen added 10 points for the Spurs, who shot 49 percent (34-of-69) to overcome 18 missed free throws and the absence of injured reserve forward Robert Horry (abdomen).
"That's why they're the champions," Wade said. "They don't beat themselves. When they got the lead, they made every shot they had to make."
Jason Williams scored 18 points and Walker added 12 for the Heat, who shot 48 percent (38-of-78) but received just two points from their starting forwards.
"This is another one of nine or 10 games we let slip away this year," O'Neal said. "We beat ourselves tonight. Coach Riley was right when he said that we need to start making a push now. Not tomorrow, not yesterday, now.''
Returning from a 4-3 road trip, the Heat looked uninspired in the first half and paid for it as Parker repeatedly got inside the defense for layups or open jumpers. "He's a great player," Haslem said. "The guy made shots tonight. We wanted to take away his penetration and keep him out of the paint. He was hitting his jumpers."
A tussle between Duncan and Haslem late in the first half resulted in both big men receiving technical fouls.
Popovich said he expects Ginobili to be out for "a while, that's for sure. It's not broken, but it's sprained pretty good."