SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Tony Parker might have been concerned about a letdown coming off the All-Star break, but the San Antonio Spurs’ veteran guard showed no signs of rust.
Parker had 30 points and 11 assists to lead San Antonio to a 108-102 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night, giving the Spurs their 15th win in their last 16 games.
Parker started the game strong and also helped the Spurs finish as well, getting eight points in the fourth, including a crucial basket to thwart the Kings’ comeback.
Parker made 10 of 20 shots, hit 10 of 12 free throws, and also added three steals. However, he did commit seven of the Spurs’ 17 turnovers.
“He (Parker) picked up where he left off before the All-Star break,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “He’s having an unbelievable year. He just keeps doing it.”
Parker confounded the Kings throughout, knifing through the defense in getting to the basket and drawing fouls, flipping up his trademark tear drop from close range, making jumpers, and finding open teammates.
“I just wanted to be aggressive, that’s what I’ve been trying to do all year long,” Parker said. “The first game back after the All-Star break is always tough. We’re going to have some turnovers, some missed shots, and stuff like that. Overall, it’s a big win because if you win on the road it’s sweet. I’ll take it.”
What Parker and the Spurs will also take is more games like this from Danny Green, who scored 21 points, including 5-for-8 shooting on 3-pointers. Parker drove the lane several times and found Green fairly open for several 3-pointers from the corner.
“Games like this are what Tony does. We expect nothing less,” Green said. “It was just Tony being Tony.”
It’s a difficult chore for a struggling team like the Kings to stop the Spurs. And right now it’s difficult for any team to stop San Antonio. The Spurs own the top overall record in the NBA (43-12) as well as the best road mark (21-10).
Kawhi Leonard added 15 points and Manu Ginobili 12 as San Antonio won at Sacramento for the 10 straight time.
Brois Diaw had 10 points and Tim Duncan added nine points and 14 rebounds for the Spurs.
“We know they are probably one of the best teams in the league,” Kings center DeMarcus Cousins said. “They’re playing team basketball, that’s why they’re as good as they are.”
Isaiah Thomas scored 22 points for the Kings, who have dropped three straight. Tyreke Evans had 20 points, Marcus Thornton added 16, and Jason Thompson and Cousins had 11 each.
The Spurs came out strong in the opening quarter, showing no effects of the layoff during the All-Star break. They established a double-digit lead on numerous occasions in winning their third straight.
“We just didn’t make shots. The whole first half we shot 30 percent,” Thomas said. “That’s the biggest thing. When you don’t make shots it makes everything else look bad.”
The Kings shot much better in the second half and made the game a little tense for the Spurs in the closing minutes. Thornton made back-to-back 3s and followed with a fast-break layup, pulling the Kings to 103-100 with 55.9 seconds to go.
However, Parker drove the lane for a layup against Cousins with 19.7 seconds remaining and Ginobili made a free throw 8 seconds later to put the Spurs up by six points.
“I kind of ended up in the situation (with Parker) and he got the best of the situation,” Cousins said.
San Antonio has four games remaining on its season-high nine-game road trip then it will play 17 of its final 24 at home. They return after playing Sunday in Phoenix.
The most intriguing aspect regarding the underperforming Kings this season is off the court, where the uncertainty of the team’s future lingers.
Mayor Kevin Johnson is trying to prevent the Kings from moving to Seattle and wants to put together a financial plan by late next week. Whether the Kings remain in Sacramento will likely be determined during the NBA’s owners meeting April 17-18.
A Seattle-based group of investors, headed by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, has already reached an agreement with the Maloof family to buy 65 percent of the franchise.
On Tuesday night, the Sacramento City Council voted to lend its support to keeping the Kings in town and helping to build a new downtown arena.
A pair of jumpers by Thompson pulled the Kings to within 85-81 early in the fourth. But Green quickly hit a 3 and Parker added consecutive baskets, giving the Spurs a 92-91 advantage.
Parker continued to penetrate the Kings’ defense in the third quarter when he scored nine points. Green was also effective, making two 3-pointers and scoring eight points to help San Antonio take an 83-74 lead into the fourth.
The Kings got going offensively in the third quarter after shooting just over 28 percent in the first half. Both Evans and Cousins scored nine points and Thomas had eight.
Parker had 13 points and six assists and Leonard had 12 points in the opening half for the Spurs, who led 50-41 at halftime.
NETS 113, BUCKS 111
NEW YORK — Joe Johnson hit a tying 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter and then his buzzer-beating jumper at the end of overtime lifted Brooklyn.
Johnson finished with 24 points, and Brook Lopez and Deron Williams added 19 each as the Nets snapped a 13-game losing streak against the Bucks dating back to March 30, 2009.
Brandon Jennings scored 34 points to lead the Bucks. Ersan Ilyasova had 21 points, Monta Ellis added 18 and Larry Sanders 14.
Jennings saw his short jumper go in and out with 15 seconds left in overtime. After a Nets timeout, Johnson was intentionally fouled by Luc Mbah a Moute with 5 seconds left. The Nets inbounded again and Johnson won the game with his foul line jumper over Mbah A Moute.
BULLS 96, HORNETS 87
NEW ORLEANS — Luol Deng scored 20 points and Chicago snapped a two-game skid.
The Bulls took the lead for good late in the first quarter, but didn’t put the Hornets away until Deng’s clutch jumper from the top of the key with 44.8 seconds left put Chicago up 94-87 after New Orleans had pulled within five points on Eric Gordon’s 3-pointer.
Carlos Boozer added 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Joakim Noah had 15 points and 17 rebounds for Chicago, which outrebounded New Orleans 47-39 and had 15 second-chance points.
Gordon finished with 20 and Anthony Davis had 15 points and 10 rebounds for New Orleans, which saw its two-game winning streak snapped after committing nine of its 15 turnovers in the final quarter. Greivis Vasquez had 11 points and 10 assists.
GRIZZLIES 105, PISTONS 91
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Mike Conley scored 19 points, Zach Randolph had his 31st double-double and Memphis won its fourth straight game.
Randolph had 15 points and 10 rebounds and the Grizzlies rode a strong second half to win in both teams’ first game since the All Star break.
Brandon Knight and Jonas Jerebko each scored 13 points and Jose Calderon added 10 points and seven assists for the Pistons, who have lost two of their last three at home.
The Grizzlies trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half, but ended it on a 23-3 run to lead 53-42 at intermission. The Pistons managed just one basket in the final eight minutes of the half and had twice as many turnovers as field goals (8-4) in the second quarter.
RAPTORS 96, WIZARDS 88
WASHINGTON — DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay scored 24 points apiece, and Toronto won a matchup between slow-starting, coming-on-lately teams.
Playing with an improvised scoreboard, horn, game clock and 24-second clock because of a malfunction in the scoring system, the Raptors took the lead for good in the second quarter and won their fifth straight game, putting them one victory shy of last season’s total.
The Raptors have also won three in a row on the road for the first time since 2007 and are 6-2 since Gay arrived last month from the Memphis Grizzlies in a three-team trade.
Rookie Bradley Beal, back in the starting lineup for the first time since taking time off to heal a sprained right wrist, scored 25 points for the Wizards, who had won eight of nine at home.
BOBCATS 105, MAGIC 92
ORLANDO, Fla. — Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson each had 24 points, Byron Mullens added 20 points and 12 rebounds and Charlotte survived Orlando’s second-half comeback.
Mullens has had at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in three of the Bobcats’ last five games.
The Bobcats have won two of their last three and also snapped a string of seven consecutive road losses. Charlotte begins a three-game home stand on Wednesday against Detroit.
Nikola Vucevic had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Arron Afflalo 18 points to lead the Magic, who have lost 25 of their last 28, including 13 of 15 at home.
SUNS 102, TRAIL BLAZERS 98
PORTLAND, Ore. — Goran Dragic had 16 points and a career-high 18 assists as Phoenix snapped a four-game losing streak.
Wesley Johnson came off the bench to score a season-high 14 points for the Suns, who led by as many as 19 points and survived a late Portland rally.
J.J. Hickson had 25 points and 16 rebounds for his 28th double-double of the season for the Blazers, who lost their sixth straight to match their season-high
The Blazers pulled to within 96-92 on rookie Damian Lillard’s 3-pointer with 3:57 left in the game. Marcin Gortat’s dunk and Luis Scola’s layup slowed the rally, but Nicolas Batum made a 3-pointer to close the Blazers within 100-95 with 2:35 to go.
SPURS 108, KINGS 102
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Tony Parker had 30 points and 11 assists to give San Antonio its 15th win in their last 16 games.
Danny Green scored 21 points, including 5-for-8 shooting on 3-pointers, for the Spurs, who have the top overall record in the NBA (43-12) as well as the best road mark (21-10). Kawhi Leonard added 15 points and Manu Ginobili 12 as San Antonio won at Sacramento for the 10 straight time.
Brois Diaw had 10 points and Tim Duncan added nine points and 14 rebounds for the Spurs.
Isaiah Thomas scored 22 points for the Kings, who have dropped three straight. Tyreke Evans had 20 points, Marcus Thornton added 16, and Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins had 11 each.
NUGGETS 97, CELTICS 90
DENVER — Danilo Gallinari and Ty Lawson each scored 26 points to help Denver snap a three-game losing streak.
Andre Miller and Kosta Koufos added 11 points apiece and Kenneth Faried had 16 rebounds to go with his seven points to help the Nuggets gain a split of their season series with Boston, which beat Denver in triple overtime last week to end the Nuggets’ nine-game winning streak and start their losing streak.
Jeff Green had 20 points off the bench to lead the Celtics, who have been playing well despite losing Rajon Rondo (torn ACL), Jared Sullinger (back surgery) and Leandro Barbosa (torn ACL) to season-ending injuries in the past month.
Avery Bradley added 17 points and Courtney Lee had 15 for the Celtics, who lost their fourth in a row to the Nuggets in Denver.
JAZZ 115, WARRIORS 101
SALT LAKE CITY — Al Jefferson scored 24 points, Gordon Hayward added 17 in his return from a shoulder injury and Utah extended Golden State’s losing streak to six games.
Seven Jazz players scored in double figures, and Utah got 47 points from its reserves.
The Jazz made 10 of 21 3-pointers, including three by Randy Foye.
Stephen Curry led Golden State with 29 points, Jarrett Jack had 19 off the bench and David Lee contributed 18 on 9-of-13 shooting.
Lee’s runner and Curry’s fourth 3-pointer pulled the Warriors within 93-87 with 9:47 remaining. That’s as close as they would get.
Paul Millsap’s turnaround jumper ignited a 6-0 Utah run and the Jazz held the Warriors to 30 percent shooting in the fourth.