Notes on a scorecard: TP and Manu come through despite shooting struggles

The Spurs’ offensive fulcrum is found in their backcourt, where leading scorers Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker have helped lead them to the NBA’s best record after 66 games.

And while their games Saturday won’t be considered as measuring sticks, the Spurs backcourt duo was productive when needed to fuel a tough 115-107 over Houston.

Parker scored 21 points and Ginobili chipped in with 19 to finish as the Spurs’ two leading scorers in the comeback victory over the Rockets.

Since the blowout loss against the Los Angeles Lakers last week, the Spurs’ backcourt has come up with huge performances to help the team blot that memory away.

Against Detroit, Parker and Ginobili both shot over  70 percent from the field — a career first for them in the same game when both had 10 shots. And against Sacramento Friday night, Parker and Ginobili combined for 51 points — the most they have scored  together in a game this season.

Their scoring numbers weren’t nearly as potent Saturday night against the Rockets. Parker finished with 21 points and six assists and at plus-10 had the team’s highest plus-minus score. Ginobili struggled through a fitful 5-for-15 shooting night, but still hit three 3-pointers, and provided three assists, three steals and 19 points. He finished at plus-9.

Perhaps their most impressive numbers were their combined turnovers. Ginobili had one and Parker none. Their combined total of one turnover against the Rockets was the smallest number in  a game where both started. They did have a game with no turnovers on Feb. 12 in Washington, but Ginobili was benched that night for some extra rest.

It was a huge turnaround from their two most recent games. Against Detroit, Parker and Ginobili combined for seven turnovers. And against Sacramento, they had nine turnovers.

So while they might not have shot as well as in recent games, the San Antonio backcourt took care of the ball. And that diligence helped them beat back a tough challenge from the Rockets.

Here’s a look at a few other tidbits and notes from the Spurs’ 10th road victory in their last 14 games away from the ATT Center and their fourth straight over the Rockets.  

  • The biggest story in San Antonio’s fast start was the play of Antonio McDyess, who scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds in the first quarter alone. McDyess finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season and his first since Feb. 11 at Philadelphia. McDyess came within two points of his season scoring high of 14 against Golden State on Jan. 24. He also grabbed a season high 12 rebounds and matched his season high of 10 field-goal attempts.
  • Parker finished with a team-high 21 points to continue a streak of three consecutive 20-plus scoring games. It’s his best run of 20-plus games since notching five straight from Nov. 10-19. Parker got his first tip-in of the season to account for his only offensive rebound. He also matched his season low with no turnovers, set four times before and most recently on Feb. 12.
  • Ginobili overcame a struggling 5-for-15 shooting night to score 19 points. But he was 3-for-7 behind the 3-point arc to continue an improved stretch that has seen him hit 43.8 percent of his threes in his last three games. Ginobili is averaging 20 points per game in those three games.
  • Tim Duncan produced 11 points and seven rebounds, but scored four pivotal points in the final two minutes that enabled the Spurs to wrap up the victory. Since struggling in his miserable game against the Lakers last week, Duncan has averaged 13.7 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.
  • After missing his first game of the season Friday for undisclosed reasons, Richard Jefferson came back to score 10 points and grab four rebounds. It’s his third double-figure scoring game in his last four games. He’s hitting 57.1 percent from the field over his last six games and 50 percent of his 3-pointers during that time.
  • George Hill continued his recent surge with 14 points, giving him double figures in scoring for the seventh time in his last nine games. He’s averaged 13.2 points per game during that time. His 66.7 field-goal percentage against the Rockets was his fourth best single-game shooting game of the season.
  • For the second straight game, DeJuan Blair provided a big game with 14 points, nine rebounds and three steals. In his last two games, Blair is averaging 14.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game. And since his benching three games ago, Blair is hitting 70 percent of his field goal attempts and 77.8 percent of his free throws.
  • Gary Neal rebounded to hit for 10 points to return to double figures after seeing his 10-game streak of double-figure games ended against Sacramento. He’s averaging 13.6 points over his last 12 games.
  • Matt Bonner scored four points on a pair of field goals. He missed his only 3-point attempt, marking back-to-back games without a 3-pointer for the first time since the first two games of the Western Conference semifinals last season against Phoenix. And since Duncan’s infamous “It’s Over” comment about Bonner’s 3-point markmanship against Miami, Bonner has hit 22.2 percent from behind the arc over his last four games.
  • Steve Novak got some rare playing time when the game was tight, playing for 3:20 early in the fourth quarter. He failed to produce any statistics, but was plus-3 during his playing stint.
  • Parker led the team with a plus-10, followed by Ginobili and Bonner at plus-9 and Jefferson, Duncan and Hill at plus-7. McDyess had the lowest score at minus-8, with Neal at minus-3 and Blair at minus-1 the only Spurs with negative numbers.
  • Tiago Splitter and James Anderson picked up DNPs. Othyus Jeffers and Chris Quinn both were inactive.
  • The Spurs grabbed only two more offensive rebounds than Houston, but they did not squander their second-chance opportunities. San Antonio finished the game with an 18-8 advantage in second-chance points.
  • The Spurs scored 36 points in the opening quarter, setting Houston’s season high for most points allowed in the first period.
  • Even watching on television, you still could sense that the Rockets had very little homecourt advantage — particularly at the end of the game. The distinctive “Go Spurs  Go” could be heard echoing through the Toyota Center after the Spurs took control of the game in the final seconds.
  • The Spurs are 41-3 when scoring at least 100 and are 13-0 on the road after leading after one quarter. Their 27 foul shots and 34 foul attempts both were tied for sixth highest this season for the team. Their 11 steals — led by Ginobili and Blair with three apiece — was tied for fourth most this season.
  • Foul trouble dogged the Spurs as they picked up 24 fouls for the third most in a game this season.  Hill finished with five and Ginobili and Hill had four apiece.
  • For the second straight game, the Spurs allowed nine 3-pointers to tie for the fifth most this season. The Rockets went 22-for-25 from the line — the fifth most free throws by an opponent and tied for ninth in most foul shot attempts. The Spurs yielded 23 assists, trailing their opponents in that category for the fourth straight game. And Houston  had 32 fouls, tied for top by a Spur opponent and the most against the Spurs in a regulation game.

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