San Antonio at Sacramento

Parker scores 32, helps Spurs move closer to third seed

CBSSports.com wire reports
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Heading into the playoffs hoping to defend their title, the San Antonio Spurs will clearly need to step up their game if they want to repeat.

Tony Parker tied his season high with 32 points and added 11 assists as the struggling Spurs managed to pull out a 101-98 victory Monday night against the depleted Sacramento Kings.

The victory, coupled with Houston's loss to Utah, put the Spurs in position to clinch third place in the conference for a second successive season. The Spurs, who defeated Cleveland in the NBA Finals a year ago, will play Utah at home Wednesday to conclude the regular season.

San Antonio has lost three of its past six games, including a humbling 90-64 defeat on April 4 in Utah. The Spurs lost to the Lakers by 21 points on Sunday and were embarrassed last week in a 96-79 loss at home to Phoenix.

"It's been the way we have lost lately, games have been getting away from us," Spurs reserve forward Ime Udoka said. "We've gone through some scoring droughts, so it was good to get over 100 points tonight."

Still, the victory left no one in the Spurs' locker room giddy. Tim Duncan left for the team bus almost immediately after the game and didn't talk to the media, and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was brief in his comments, talking about the Kings and not his team.

"We had a tough loss against the Lakers, so we needed this," said Parker, who scored eight points in the fourth quarter, when the Spurs were outscored 22-18. "We got Utah next. The West is so hard that we need to get as high a seed as possible."

Trailing by four points in the closing minute, John Salmons scored inside and was hacked by Duncan, who fouled out. Salmons made the free throw, pulling the Kings to 99-98 with 14.3 seconds left.

Then Michael Finley made two free throws with 11.8 seconds left. Looking to send the game into overtime, both Francisco Garcia and Quincy Douby missed 3-point attempts and San Antonio held on.

"I thought Francisco got fouled at the end there. A lot of times the ref's just not going to give you that," said Kings coach Reggie Theus, who was playing without three starters. "Clearly, I thought he got hit in the head."

Playing only 24 minutes due to foul trouble, Duncan had 17 points for the Spurs. Finley scored 19 points and Fabricio Oberto had 17.

Salmons led the Kings with 29 points and 11 rebounds, Spencer Hawes had 17 points, Beno Udrih scored 16 and Garcia added 15.

The Spurs will have a day at home to regroup, then face Utah on Wednesday night with revenge in mind.

"We remember what they did to us a few weeks ago," Udoka said.

Trailing since late in the second quarter, the Kings ran off 11 consecutive points for a 93-87 lead with 6:04 remaining. It was Douby, a backup, who provided the spark, making a jumper, a 3-point basket and finding Garcia open for a fastbreak dunk.

The Kings played without injured Kevin Martin and Ron Artest, their two leading scorers. Starting center Brad Miller also did not play.

"It was disappointing that we didn't come through with a win, but that's a championship team," said Salmons, who made 11 of 19 shots and seven of eight free throws. "We didn't have a couple of our best players and we made them sweat. We can take that into the offseason on a positive note."

San Antonio, which has won 50 or more games the past nine seasons, has the current longest playoff streak with 11 consecutive appearances. The Spurs will be trying to win their fifth NBA championship in 10 seasons.

"Utah is the last game of the season and may be a team we meet in the first round of the playoffs," Finley said. "We need to go out and play well and not take steps backward."

Popovich went to his bench frequently, starting in the opening quarter when four reserves were on the court within the game's opening eight minutes. The Spurs' leading scorer, Manu Ginobili, missed his third consecutive game with a strained left groin.

Duncan made all five shots in the first quarter, when the Spurs shot 74 percent and led 36-26. Duncan scored 14 points and Oberto had 13 for the Spurs, who led 56-51 at the half. Salmons scored 16 points for the Kings through two quarters.

Notes

  • Louisville coach Rick Pitino was sitting courtside. Theus was an assistant under Pitino for two years and Garcia played three seasons with the Cardinals.
  • The Kings, who have made a habit of beating playoff-bound teams over the past month, will finish the season Tuesday night at the Lakers.
  • Martin has been awarded the Kings' Oscar Robertson Triple-Double Award, which judges players for their achievements on and off the court.
  • Traded to Seattle in February and promptly waived, Brent Barry played his first game with the Spurs since being signed on March 24. Barry has been sidelined with injuries throughout the season and has played only 30 games. He played four minutes in the second quarter, missed three 3-point attempts and was scoreless.
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Tony Parker gives the Kings fits, scoring 32 points and handing out 11 assists. (Getty Images)
Tony Parker gives the Kings fits, scoring 32 points and handing out 11 assists. (Getty Images)
Scoreboard
San Antonio (55-26) «36202718101
Sacramento (38-43) 2625252298
SA:T. Parker 32 Pts
SA:F. Oberto 8 Reb
SA:T. Parker 11 Ast
SAC:J. Salmons 29 Pts
SAC:J. Salmons 10 Reb
SAC:J. Salmons 3 Ast
Players of the Game
SacramentoSan Antonio

J. Salmons

T. Parker
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
2910332311

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San Antonio
M. Finley, SG388-152-333319
T. Parker, PG3712-227-9311232
F. Oberto, C368-101-183217
B. Bowen, SF342-50-04125
T. Duncan, PF256-77-853619
K. Thomas, PF290-30-05040
I. Udoka, SF203-60-03149
J. Vaughn, PG110-40-00100
M. Bonner, PF60-00-00000
B. Barry, SG40-30-00010
R. Horry, PFDid Not Play
D. Stoudamire, PGDid Not Play
M. Ginobili, SGDid Not Play
D. Johnson, SFDid Not Play
I. Mahinmi, CDid Not Play
Totals 39-7517-21312324101
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Sacramento
F. Garcia, SF456-162-263215
J. Salmons, SF4411-197-8103429
M. Moore, PF343-60-03046
S. Hawes, C338-141-233117
B. Udrih, PG314-108-823216
S. Williams, PF263-42-55348
Q. Douby, SG183-70-02317
A. Johnson, PG50-00-00000
L. Wright, C20-00-00000
S. Abdur-Rahim, PFDid Not Play
B. Miller, CDid Not Play
R. Artest, SFDid Not Play
K. Thomas, PFDid Not Play
K. Martin, SGDid Not Play
Totals 38-7620-2531181898
 50.0%80.0% 
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