Sometimes, only one third of something great is all you need. Tony Parker didn’t miss Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan as he led the San Antonio Spurs to a 98-93 win over the Atlanta Hawks, pouring more misery on a team that’s losing players to injury at the same pace they’re losing games.
Devin Harris and Jeff Teague were the point guards Larry Drew had to start the game, after Lou Williams was announced out for the season. Now Harris is down to. Bad luck comes along with bad basketball, as the Hawks lost for the 8th time in 10 games, which might lead some to think that the curse of Josh Smith, losing the last two games he was in the lineup after making a return from suspension, is an actual thing.
The Spurs don’t care about curses or other problems. Tony Parker had no problem slicing and dicing through the Hawks’ defense, no matter who was guarding him, finishing with 23 points and 12 assists, his second double double in three nights, averaging 21.3 points and 9.3 assists on the Spurs’ latest win streak, now up to four games.
In the fourth quarter I was trying to be aggressive and take more shots and at the same time still find Tiago on the roll. It worked out pretty well tonight. That’s what I do best. I go to the paint and try to create, and if I feel comfortable when I go to the basket, I always feel like I can get a shot up. I’ve been doing that my whole life.
Parker’s ease of getting into the paint helped the Spurs score 50 points from close range, while the Hawks struggled keeping up and coping with pace, turning the ball over 15 times, leading to 25 points by the Spurs.
Tiago Splitter seemed the one enjoying Parker’s dominance more than anyone else, finding himself open while cutting to the basket after a set of screens again and again. The Brazilian finished with 14 points on 7-11 from the field, adding 7 rebounds. Kawhi Leonard also scored 14 points. Matt Bonner scored 17 points off the bench on a close to flawless shooting night with 7-8 from the field and 3-3 from beyond the arc.
Gregg Popovich was asked about taking Manu Ginobili with the team on their current road trip despite not being able to play for at least one more week. Popovich said that Ginobili serves as eye candy for the team, fans and reporters.
Boris Diaw got the start instead of Tim Duncan, putting up 9 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists in 25 minutes. Diaw is pretty much the same kind of contributor off the bench or in the starting lineup, averaging 5.8 points either way. The most important thing for the Spurs to get out of this game was winning on the road again. They’re 14-9 this season when away from home, but lost their previous three games outside of San Antonio, the last win coming against the Milwaukee Bucks on January 2.