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Sacramento at San Antonio

Parker returns to lead Spurs, clinch at least No. 2 seed

CBSSports.com wire reports
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SAN ANTONIO -- Tony Parker delivered another typical performance, which the San Antonio Spurs needed on a day when nothing went as expected.

Parker had 22 points and 10 assists in his return from a four-game absence, and San Antonio never trailed in a 108-101 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday, a day the Spurs lost two key players.

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San Antonio (58-21) clinched at least the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference following Denver's 108-105 overtime loss Friday in Dallas.

The good news didn't resonate in the locker room, where the Spurs were still dealing with the decision to waive forward Stephen Jackson on Friday afternoon, ending his second stint with the team.

Hours earlier, San Antonio also lost reserve forward Boris Diaw, who will miss three to four weeks after having surgery Friday to have a synovial cyst removed from his lumbar spine.

Jackson's departure took the team by surprise, especially since the playoffs start in eight days.

"It's a hard one," Parker said, "but it's a big boss decision."

The Spurs are already without Manu Ginobili, who is going to miss the remainder of the regular season after straining his right hamstring March 29 against the Los Angeles Clippers.

"We probably look a little thin, but life goes on," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said before the game. "Nobody knew it was going to be two or three weeks for Boris, but the two events are basically mutually exclusive in the sense of what had to be done."

The Spurs needed everyone to step up in the wake of a depleted roster, and they did so.

Tim Duncan added 18 points, Kawhi Leonard had 15 points and Tiago Splitter and Danny Green had 12 apiece as seven players scored in double figures for San Antonio.

The Spurs shot 54 percent from the field overall (42 for 77) and were 4 for 8 on 3-pointers in the second half.

"When we run our offense, this is what happens," Leonard said. "A lot of guys get open shots and they knock them down."

DeMarcus Cousins had 19 points and 12 rebounds, Jason Thompson added 18 points, Toney Douglas had 15 and Jimmer Fredette had 14 for Sacramento, which lost its sixth straight to San Antonio.

Leonard sparked an 11-2 run, continually beating John Salmons to the basket for a pair of layups, a dunk and a free throw that gave San Antonio a 15-6 lead. He played 35 minutes with his primary backup, Jackson, no longer with the team.

"That's Kawhi's position and he plays a lot of minutes," Popovich said. "That's what we want him to do. We want him to play 35-40 minutes a game. He's a heck of a player and he needs minutes, so he's going to get them."

Sacramento shot 4 for 22 to start the game, missing seven straight early in the quarter. San Antonio held a 23-13 lead after the first, the second-lowest point total by a Spurs opponent in the opening quarter this season.

"Sometimes when you don't make shots you don't have that backup to say, `OK, next time we get it and get a lot of defense going,"' Kings coach Keith Smart said. "When young teams and veteran teams miss a couple of shots right away, they drop their shoulders."

Parker didn't attempt a shot in the first quarter, but still led the team with 13 points in the first half.

His first points came on a layup with 3:38 left in the second quarter, and closed the first half by scoring 13 of the team's final 15 points.

"He started to take over the game in the second quarter," Leonard said. "It was fun watching him get us the lead."

Sacramento opened the third quarter on 15-6 run to pull within 66-65 with 5:49 left in the quarter, but San Antonio quickly rebuilt a 10-point lead on a pair of buckets apiece from Leonard and Parker.

The Spurs were outscored 27-24 in the fourth, but their lead was never really threatened to end the tumultuous day.

"[Reaction] starts at the top," said Spurs guard Gary Neal, who had 10 points. "Timmy shows up and does his job. Tony shows up and does his job. There's not a lot of gossiping about the situation. It is what it is and we try to prepare ourselves to win games."

Notes

  • Duncan was averaging 22 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.73 blocks and 2.7 assists in his 11 games prior to Friday's victory.
  • Cousins picked up his league-leading 15th technical foul with 2:22 left in the first half after he was whistled for pushing Duncan. Cousins was upset there was no foul called on Duncan on a steal.
Copyright 2014 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 returns from a four-game absence to notch 22 points and 10 assists as the Spurs defeat the Kings. (Getty Images)
Tony Parker returns from a four-game absence to notch 22 points and 10 assists as the Spurs defeat the Kings. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Sacramento (28-51)13372427101
San Antonio (58-21) «23372424108
SAC:D. Cousins 19 Pts
SAC:D. Cousins 12 Reb
SAC:T. Douglas 7 Ast
SA:T. Parker 22 Pts
SA:T. Splitter 12 Reb
SA:T. Parker 10 Ast
Players of the Game
SacramentoSan Antonio

DeMarcus Cousins

Tony Parker
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
1912122310

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Sacramento
J. Thompson, PF328-152-261418
D. Cousins, C296-117-9121419
I. Thomas, PG223-100-02316
T. Evans, PG213-91-21209
J. Salmons, SF200-40-03310
M. Thornton, SG304-100-022012
T. Douglas, PG266-110-037215
J. Fredette, PG245-82-202114
P. Patterson, PF184-80-03228
C. Hayes, PF170-30-02310
T. Outlaw, SFDid Not Play
J. Johnson, PFDid Not Play
C. Aldrich, CDid Not Play
Totals 39-8912-15342616101
 43.8%80.0% 
San Antonio
K. Leonard, SF357-141-271115
T. Duncan, PF347-184-562118
T. Parker, PG349-134-4310022
T. Splitter, C324-74-5126412
D. Green, SF324-62-253012
G. Neal, PG294-81-113210
M. Bonner, PF153-52-210311
D. Blair, PF153-40-05116
N. De Colo, PG131-20-01222
M. Ginobili, SGDid Not Play
S. Jackson, SFDid Not Play
B. Diaw, PFDid Not Play
P. Mills, PGDid Not Play
C. Joseph, PGDid Not Play
A. Baynes, PFDid Not Play
Totals 42-7718-21412814108
 54.5%85.7% 
Other Games
Brook 117 Final
Ind 109
Phi 97 Final
Wash 86
Chi 88 Final
Tor 97
Mil 104 Final
Atl 109
NY 101 Final
Cle 91
Char 93 Final
Det 113
Bos 101 Final
Mia 109
LAC 96 Final
NO 93
Mem 82 Final
Hou 78
Den 105 Final
Dal 108
Min 100 Final
Utah 107
OKC 106 Final
Port 90
GS 116 Final
LAL 118