Parker nets 26 in return to France; Spurs win exhibition

Updated: October 6, 2006, 8:29 AM ET
Associated Press

VILLEURBANNE, France -- French star Tony Parker scored 26 points to help the San Antonio Spurs rout the French club Asvel Villeurbanne 115-90 in an exhibition game Thursday night.

Tony Parker
Gregory Shamus/NBAE via Getty ImagesTony Parker felt right at home in France, leading the victorious Spurs with 26 points.

Parker, unable to play for France in the recent world championships because of a broken finger, received a warm reception from the home fans.

"I really wanted to do well, because I could not play for France at the world championships," Parker said. "The reception I got from the fans here warmed my heart.

"It was good, although it felt a bit strange to play against a French team in the Spurs jersey. I wanted to play well because I am in France.

On Sunday, the Spurs will play Maccabi Tel Aviv in Paris.

"It will be harder against Maccabi, but we have a match in our legs and we will be ready," Parker said. "I am in France. My family and friends are here. We had a wonderful five days in Lyon."

Tim Duncan added 19 points and Brent Barry had 12 for the Spurs.

"The team is still coming together, but we moved the ball around nicely," Parker said.

Parker was 10-for-13 from the field against Villeurbanne, a French Pro A league team. Parker sat most of the second galf but, after pleading with coach Gregg Popovich, returned for the final minute of the game to loud applause.

"I didn't want to bring on Tony Parker at the end," Popovich said. "I finally did, because we are in France and you have to please the fans."

Rowan Barrett led home team with 22 points and Brian Green had 17.

The Spurs are one of four NBA teams spending a portion of its preseason overseas as part of the NBA Europe Live tour. The Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns also are taking part.

The Spurs have been camped at nearby Lyon, famed as one of the food capitals of the world.

"Very honestly, it's been terrific," Popovich said. "The food, the wine, the camaraderie. It's been fantastic."


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press