Game rewind: TP’s late charge should make his All-Star pick easy

Tony Parker has said a couple of  times over the last several weeks that making the All-Star game would help make up for his disappointment from not making it last season.

As well as Parker played last season, he’s taken it up a notch this year when his team has leaned on him without Manu Ginobili in the lineup.

All-Star balloting was completed before Wednesday’s game.And although it won’t be counted, Parker produced another monster night with 37 points and eight assists in the Spurs’ convincing 100-90 victory over East Division-leading Philadelphia.

Spurs beat writer Jeff  McDonald tweeted during the game that Parker might even merit some consideration as the league’s MVP after the first 26 games of the season.

McDonald mentioned at the end of the tweet that his statement  was “an exaggeration, but still.”

And who can argue with him.

For his part, Parker said after Wednesday’s game that the selection would be important to him for bigger reasons than merely his personal gratification.

“I think it would be great for the Spurs organization and my teammates,” Parker said. “Obviously, I’ll be very happy if they select me.”  

Consider that Parker has scored 100 points in his last three games with 42 points against Oklahoma City on Saturday, 21 at Memphis Monday night and his 37-point game against the Sixers.

He’s topped that three-game total only once in his career. It came during a binge early in the 2008-09 season when he scored 24 at Portland, 22 against Dallas and a career-best 55 in an overtime victory at Minnesota.  That three-game total gave him 101 points.

One concern about that stretch is that in his next game, Parker sprained his left ankle against Miami and missed the next three weeks.

Parker’s big game Wednesday enabled the Spurs to claim their sixth straight victory and make the Rodeo Road Trip that much happier. Here’s a look at how they did it.

The game, simply stated: The Spurs went into their most hostile of road enviroments and dominated the 76ers practically from the opening tip in a convincing victory keyed by Parker and their defense.

Where the game was won: After Philadelphia took the lead at 51-50 on Andre Iguodala’s driving layup with 10:27 left in the third quarter, the Spurs hit the Sixers with a 10-2 run capped by DeJuan Blair’s layup that gave them a 60-53 lead. San Antonio never trailed again.

Closing it out: Lou Williams pulled Philadelphia within 95-90 with a 3-pointer with 1:46 left. But the Spurs put the game away with five foul shots — four from Parker and one from Richard Jefferson.

Player of the game I: Just like it has been so often the last several weeks, Parker dominated the game from the point. His 37 points were his second-highest scoring total this season as he notched eight assists and was 13 of 13 from the foul line.

Player of the game II: Gary Neal gave the Spurs a lift off the bench with 18 points, five rebounds and six assists. Neal scored 12 of his points in the final six minutes of the first quarter and accounted for four of San Antonio’s five 3-pointers.

Player of the game III:  Tim Duncan had another big night inside with 16 points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots. It was his third straight double-double, marking the first time he’s achieved that feat since the first three games of  the playoffs last season against Memphis.

Most unsung: Matt Bonner’s outside shot wasn’t falling and he was limited to five points. But he was active on the boards, grabbed nine rebounds including three in the fourth quarter, and played solid defense.  

Attendance: Hometown product Kobe Bryant helped the 76ers attract a sellout crowd Monday night when the Lakers visited. Attendance for the Spurs’ visit two nights later was down almost 2,000 as the game attracted 18,070. Monday’s game was witnessed by 20,064.

Did you notice I:  Jefferson’s only point of the game — a free throw with 24.5 seconds left — was the final point of the game.

Did you notice II: With injured starting center Spencer Hawes out of the lineup, Philadelphia coach Doug Collins was forced to rely on rookies Nikola Vucevic and Lavoy Allen. They combined for 15 rebounds but hit only 1 of 11 field-goal attempts as they were limited to two points.

Stat of the game:  The Spurs became the first opposing team to score above 100 points in regulation against the Sixers, who came into the game leading the league in defense. It was their first victory in Philadelphia since Jan. 21, 2007, snapping a four-game losing streak there. 

Stat of the game II: Parker hit all 13 free throws on a perfect night from the line. The only game in his carer with more foul shots without a miss came when he hit 14 against Boston on March 17, 2007.   

Stat of the game III: Philadelphia came into the game with the league’s largest per-game point differential at 10.0. The Sixers’ 10-point loss margin was their third worst of the season, topped only by a pair of losses to Miami on Jan. 21 (113-92) and Feb. 3 (93-73).

Stat of the game IV: The Spurs committed only seven turnovers to match their season low.

Stat of the game V: The Spurs’ current six-game winning streak is their longest since winning eight straight games between Jan. 7-21, 2011.

Stat of the game VI: The Spurs have limited their last nine opponents to 100 points or less in regulation.

Weird stat of the game: The Spurs won every quarter in Wednesday’s game for the first time all season. They outscored Philadelphia 26-24 in the first quarter, 22-21 in the second quarter, 27-22 in the third quarter and 25-23 in the fourth quarter.

Weird stat of the game II: Wednesday’s victory is as close to a wire-to-wire road triumph for the Spurs this season. Philadelphia’s two-point lead was the smallest of any Spurs road opponent this season.

Not a good sign: Since hitting a 3-pointer with 3:49 left in the third quarter against Oklahoma City Saturday night, Danny Green has missed his last 16 shots from the field, including nine 3-pointers. He hasn’t hit a field goal in nearly 111 minutes of game action.

Not a good sign II: Jefferson was limited to one point, marking the fifth straight game he has failed to reach double figures. He’s averaging 5.8 points per game and hitting 35.5 percent from the field during that span. It’s his longest stretch of non-double figure scoring games since late in his rookie season, when he failed to notch double figures in eight straight games with New Jersey in 2001-02.

Best plus/minus scores: Neal and Green were plus-13, and Duncan and Kawhi Leonard were plus-8.

Worst plus/minus scores: Jefferson was minus-7 and Cory Joseph was even in 24 seconds of playing time.

Quote of the game: “When he’s attacking the basket, he’s incredibly tough to stop,” Philadelphia’s Elton Brand to about trying to defense Parker.

How the schedule stacks up: The Spurs will take two days off — their longest break to this point of the season — before resuming the Rodeo Road Trip Saturday in New Jersey. They then will travel to Detroit on Tuesday and Toronto on Feb. 15. The Sixers have an approaching back to back Friday at home against the L.A. Clippers, Saturday at Cleveland and Monday at Charlotte. 

Injuries: Ginobili missed his 22nd game (Spurs record 15-7) after undergoing surgery for a fractured fifth left metacarpal.  T.J. Ford missed his 17th game (Spurs record 12-5) with a torn left hamstring. Philadephia played without starting center Hawes (strained left Achilles).

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