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Tony Parker was only two rebounds shy of a triple-double and scored 20 of his game-high 29 points in the second half.
San Antonio 109, Washington 94
SAN ANTONIO, Nov. 28 (AP) -- Tony Parker knows that sometimes you have to wait your turn and bide your time.
Parker's first-half wait paid off for the San Antonio Spurs, who with the help of the finals MVP's 20 second-half points beat the Washington Wizards 109-94 Wednesday.
"I was trying to be patient in the first half,'' said Parker, who finished with 29 points and 11 assists. "In the second half I was trying to penetrate, be more aggressive.''
Parker had nine points in the first half, but was key to the Spurs breaking open the game in the third quarter and sealing the win in the fourth.
"He's getting better and better at reading the situation and seeing what's given,'' said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "He did a great job scoring, but he also found people. He hit open people for great shots and that's what a point guard does.''
And while Parker was pushing up the score, San Antonio's star defender Bruce Bowen was making sure Washington's numbers didn't get too high.
Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, who have stepped up for the Wizards since guard Gilbert Arenas went out last week for three months following knee surgery, combined to go just 9-of-24 from the field for 28 points. Brendan Haywood scored a season-high 19 points for Washington.
"He's on a tear right now,'' Bowen said of Butler. "So the best way I think to try to stop those kind of guys is deny them the ball as much as possible.''
The Wizards got within six points, 86-80, with 8 1/2 minutes to go in the fourth, but Parker's 10 fourth-quarter points were the difference for San Antonio, which led from midway through the second quarter.
"They loaded up on Antawn and Caron every time they caught (the ball). It was tough for them to catch because (the Spurs) are good individually,'' said Washington coach Eddie Jordan. "And when they did catch, the defense sort of loaded up on the strong side of the floor and they don't get the attempts because we have to pass out or make a tough play.''
Neither team was able to pull away in the first half. The Spurs were up 49-46 at the break, but that didn't show how Washington had moderate success in containing Parker, who is usually able to get to the rim at will. Parker took just five shots, hitting three. Ginobili led the Spurs at the half with 11 points off the bench.
"I thought for about two-and-a-half quarters we were competitive and we were sort of hanging with them on their home floor,'' Jordan said. "Tony Parker stepped it up another notch and was a one-man fastbreak, and we couldn't contain him. ... We may have gone up one notch, but Tony got them up another notch against us.''
Washington, coming off a 110-98 win at Dallas on Monday, was led by Butler's 10 points at the break.
But San Antonio broke the game open in the third quarter when the Spurs quickly surged to a 61-51 lead as Finley swished his second 3-pointer of the quarter with 7:55 to go.
A previously quiet Parker also got into a groove for San Antonio in the third. His fifth basket of the quarter, where he cut between Haywood and Stevenson for a driving layup, pushed his point total to 19 and gave the Spurs a 74-60 lead with 3:37 left.
The Spurs outscored the Wizards 30-24 in the third quarter, which ended with San Antonio up 79-70. The Wizards hit just six of their 16 attempts in the period.
The Spurs had the lead for good after Elson's layup with 7:44 on the clock in the second quarter broke a 36-all tie.
In the fourth, Parker scored eight straight points for the Spurs that would give them a 104-87 lead with about 3 minutes to play, including a fastbreak layup amid two Washington defenders with his back to the basket.
Notes: Even the usually stone-faced Popovich showed a little emotion in the Spurs' breakout third quarter. He clapped after Bowen sank a jumper to put San Antonio up 79-68 with 26 seconds to play. ... Butler hit two 3s Wednesday for a total of 16 so far this season. That's just two fewer than he had all of last season.