NBA

Duncan and Parker rally Spurs past Kings

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The Canadian Press
2/2/2014 12:51:55 AM
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SAN ANTONIO -- Even though it was an ugly victory, the banged-up San Antonio Spurs were just happy to end a three-game losing streak given their troubling rash of recent injuries.

Tim Duncan had 23 points and 17 rebounds, Tony Parker added 18 points and 10 assists, and San Antonio rallied past the skidding Sacramento Kings 95-93 on Saturday night.

The win came in San Antonio's final home game before departing for its annual "Rodeo Road Trip" that lasts nearly a month.

"It's huge to start the road trip like that," Parker said. "We needed a win. Obviously we were in a little slump with those three losses. We wanted to get back on the right track."

Patty Mills scored 15 points and Boris Diaw added 14 for San Antonio, which won't play at home again until Feb. 26 against Detroit.

Despite playing Friday night against the Dallas Mavericks, Sacramento almost spoiled the going-away party for the Spurs.

Isaiah Thomas had 26 points, Rudy Gay scored 23 and Derrick Williams added 14 for the Kings, who have lost seven straight.

"We're playing the San Antonio Spurs; they're going to make their runs," Gay said. "They're going to make tough plays. They do that time and time again. It's not we're surprised that they did that. But we still had a chance to win and I still wish I had the shot back."

After scoring 22 points primarily against Marco Belinelli, Gay was limited to one in the fourth with the 6-foot-8 Diaw guarding him. Gay missed a potential game-winning, 15-foot jumper over Diaw with 0.5 seconds remaining.

"The rim. The rim," Gay said when asked what he saw on the final shot. "I mean, honestly, I wish I had that one back; I don't think I miss that too many other times."

After being outplayed by Gay and Thomas for much of the game, the veteran Spurs took over down the stretch to end their longest losing streak of the season.

Parker and Duncan scored San Antonio's final eight points, but they also gave Sacramento hope by going 1 for 3 on free throws in the final 12 seconds.

Duncan missed both his attempts with the Spurs clinging to a 94-93 lead.

"Very, very, very (frustrating)," Duncan said. "Not many times I get that situation. Just disappointed I couldn't step up and knock them out."

The Spurs were sluggish on offence with newly signed Shannon Brown starting and Tiago Splitter returning from injury, giving them their third different starting lineup in three games.

Brown, signed to a 10-day contract, had two points and two rebounds in 14 minutes.

"We need minutes," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "We have to use those minutes so that guys that know the system can be out there at the end of the game. Otherwise, they're going to be too tired at the end. He gave us good minutes so that we could get everybody else in."

San Antonio shot 6 for 20 in the third quarter while falling behind by as many as 10 points. Gay and Thomas matched that production themselves, going a combined 6 for 13 in the third.

Williams' first 3-pointer gave Sacramento a 76-66 lead with 2 minutes left in the third.

Matt Bonner hit a 3 for the Spurs and a jumper that tied the game at 85 with 6 minutes remaining. Then he drove the lane for a runner off the glass after Thomas went flying past him at the 3-point line. That gave San Antonio an 87-85 lead, its first since early in the third quarter.

"(Bonner) was great," Duncan said. "He stepped up and scored a bunch of points in a row for us. Made some plays for us. It's going to be big for guys to step up as we have people out."

The Spurs are still without Manu Ginobili, Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, but Splitter's return lifted their spirits.

Splitter scored only two points but grabbed four rebounds and helped solidify the team's interior defence.

"It was great to be back on the court with the guys," Splitter said. "I wasn't that aggressive on offence, but I just tried to help the guys on defence with the coverage and helps. Most importantly, we won, so I'm happy."

The Kings were missing leading scorer DeMarcus Cousins, who sat out his sixth straight game due to a sprained left ankle. Gay and Thomas made up for his loss offensively, accounting for half of the team's 53 first-half points.

NOTES: Splitter got his loudest ovation of the season when he was announced in the starting lineup after missing 12 games with a sprained right shoulder. He came off the bench in the second half. ... Cousins suited up but did not play. He is day to day. ... Ginobili (strained left hamstring), Leonard (broken hand) and Green (broken left index finger) all sat behind the Spurs bench.

Tony Parker (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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