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Parker leads Spurs to sixth straight win with victory over Jazz

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The Canadian Press
1/15/2014 11:02:16 PM
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SAN ANTONIO -- With Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili sitting late, the San Antonio Spurs needed Tony Parker to come through again.

Parker had 25 points and nine assists and San Antonio escaped a late rally to beat the Utah Jazz 109-105 on Wednesday night, extending their winning streak to six games.

The Spurs appeared destined for a relatively easy night after Parker, Duncan and Ginobili led them to an 18-point lead midway through the third quarter. Everything came unraveled as the Jazz closed the game on a 21-9 run to pull within a basket in the final minute.

With Parker guiding a hybrid lineup, San Antonio held on to hand Utah its sixth straight loss at the AT&T Center.

"(Parker) pulled us through it again," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "They did a good job coming back and always been a gritty, physical group. They never give in. They did a good job coming back and then they were fortunate enough to make some shots, some tough shots that got them back in the game. All three (Parker, Duncan and Ginobili) of those guys did a great job, but then in the fourth Tony saved it for us, really."

Duncan, Marco Belinelli and Kawhi Leonard scored 15 points each, and Ginobili had 13 in his first home start of the season for San Antonio (31-8).

Utah was without Gordon Hayward for the third straight game with a strained hip flexor. Even without their leading scorer, the Jazz didn't have any problems putting up points and placing a scare in the West-leading Spurs.

Enes Kanter had 25 points off the bench for Utah (13-27). Burks scored 20 points, Derrick Favours had 19 points and 12 rebounds, Trey Burke added 17 points and former Spurs forward Richard Jefferson had 15 points.

Duncan and Ginobili both re-entered the game for the final 4.3 seconds, but they were essentially bystanders as San Antonio collapsed down the stretch. Duncan exited with 2:40 left in the third quarter and the Spurs leading 74-60 and led 86-73 when Ginobili left with 10:02 remaining.

Parker's 16-foot jumper put San Antonio ahead 102-88 with 3 minutes left when things started to fall apart.

"(Pop) thought it was probably over," Ginobili said. "Tim was already stiff, so he probably thought it was over and then it got complicated. Once you sit for so long, especially at 37 (as Duncan is), it's harder to get back in."

Burke hit a jumper and a 3-pointer to cut the Spurs' lead to 105-102 with 17.7 seconds left. Following a pair of free throws by Belinelli, the rookie from Michigan hit another 3 to pull the Jazz within 107-105 with 4.3 seconds remaining.

"It just shows who (Burke) is," Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. "There is not a moment that is too big for him. He relishes in those moments. We are going to need him to continue to grow in those moments."

The Jazz were forced to foul with time running out and Belinelli closed the scoring with a pair of free throws.

Parker scored seven points in the final quarter, including four in the final 3 minutes.

"It's just Pops calling my number lately," Parker said. "Since the beginning of the season, he's playing everybody, and lately he's been calling my number."

Parker only had six points at the half, matching his new starting partner in the backcourt, Ginobili.

Ginobili did not start the second half, but that mattered little as the other two members of the team's Big 3 stepped up. Duncan and Parker combined to score the team's first 12 points of the quarter for the Spurs' first double-digit lead at 64-52.

"The Spurs will make you pay for the mistakes you make," Favors said. "We did not play basic defence and got beat backdoor a lot in the third quarter."

Duncan and Parker were a combined 9-for-12 shooting in the third quarter while scoring 20 points.

"It's great just watching (Parker) play," Leonard said. "You know what time it is on the clock, he knows when it's time to take over and he does it."

NOTES: Hayward took part in pregame activities, but was still bothered by a left hip flexor that sidelined him the previous two games. ... Ginobili stood up preparing to run through his teammates during pregame announcements, but shrugged his shoulders in surprise when Ayres was announced instead. ... Duncan is four double-doubles shy of tying Hall of Famer Bill Russell for sixth on the career list. Duncan is the active leader, accumulating 781 double-doubles in 1,213 games. ... A bespectacled David Robinson received a loud ovation during the second quarter when the team honoured those who served in the military. "The Admiral" served in the Navy prior to winning two NBA titles during a Hall of Fame career with the Spurs.

Tony Parker (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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