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 Parker scores 15 for Spurs in return from injury

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PostSubject: Parker scores 15 for Spurs in return from injury   Sat Nov 29, 2008 4:45 pm

SAN ANTONIO(AP) Manu Ginobili made one
acrobatic layup after another. Tony Parker zipped a no-look assist,
then sank a tough jumper as an encore. Tim Duncan did what he always
does.The gang in San Antonio is finally back together.After
surviving the first month with only pieces of their Big Three - and
actually faring better than most figured - the Spurs reunited Parker,
Duncan and Ginobili for the first time this season in a 109-89 victory
over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night.Parker had 15 points
and seven assists after a three-week absence, fearlessly charging
toward the basket and faking out defenders like he did before missing
the past nine games with a sprained ankle.The Spurs pushed their
season-high win streak to four and have won eight of 10 following a
horrid 1-4 outset - an atypically clunky start that had some wondering
if it was the beginning of the end for an NBA legacy.But against Memphis, it looked like old times in San Antonio."His rhythm looked good,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of his All-Star point guard. "He's back.''O.J.
Mayo scored 32 points for Memphis, beaten by San Antonio for the second
time this week. The Grizzlies dropped their fifth straight and have
lost nine of 10 as the struggle continues for one of the NBA's youngest
teams.Memphis trotted out a starting lineup with a combined
eight years of NBA experience; five belonging to Darko Milicic, who had
11 points.The Spurs countered with, well, the same old Spurs - old in years, but tough to match with Parker, Ginobili and Duncan.Parker
came off the bench in his first game back since Nov. 7, when he rolled
his ankle in a loss to Miami. The game was the low point in the early
stages for San Antonio, which was still missing Ginobili at the time.Ginobili
returned Monday and scored 14 points Friday in his third game back.
Parker played 16 minutes and hit six of nine shots, including a handful
of defense-splitting bursts that suggested no sign of a ginger ankle."It
feels great. It's great to be back,'' Parker said. "When you're out for
three weeks you only think about getting back on the court, and try to
have fun and try to help the team win.''Roger Mason, who started for Parker at point guard, scored 20 points and was one of six Spurs in double figures.Memphis
got 26 points from Rudy Gay and came within three points of the Spurs
in the fourth quarter before falling behind for good. The Grizzlies
only got four points from their bench; San Antonio got 64 thanks in
large part to Parker and Ginobili."I have never seen such a deficit like that before,'' Grizzlies coach Marc Iavaroni said.Now 9-6, the Spurs are in far better shape than most figured after Parker went down against the Heat.The
Spurs struggled to find any offensive punch beyond Duncan and Parker
during their slow start, and their once-reliable defense had crumbled
into one of the league's worst.After Parker rolled his ankle, the future looked only more bleak.But
San Antonio instead got back to its defensive emphasis - the Spurs
entered Friday ranked fourth in points allowed - and George Hill
emerged as one of the NBA's most surprising rookies. Hill scored 12
points against Memphis.Parker made his debut in the second
quarter, and he didn't exactly slowly ease himself into the game. He
was called for offensive charging on his first drive to the basket, hit
a jumper the next time down and then made a pair of dazzling assists.The
second was a no-look pass to Fabricio Oberto, who finished the
highlight-reel play with an easy layup that seemed to remind a raucous
crowd what they might have took for granted when Parker was healthy."Now
we have so many options, it's going to be tough for teams,'' said
Mason, who figures to return to the bench soon once Parker reclaims his
starting role. "I think it's a good problem to have. That's two
All-Stars that came off the bench tonight. I don't know how many teams
can say that.''Notes: Memphis guard Quinton Ross left the game
with a sore left foot and did not return. The extent of his injury was
unclear. ... Iavaroni was facing his former team, having played for San
Antonio from 1984-86. ...The Spurs have won 12 of the last 14 meetings
against the Grizzlies.

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