Parker, Duncan prove to be too much for Clips


SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- San Antonio's Tony Parker continues to dispel any lingering concerns that he might be having a sophomore slump.

Parker scored 22 points with nine assists as the Spurs defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 97-84 on Friday night.

Parker, coming off of a career-high 32-point performance in San Antonio's win over Dallas on Wednesday, was 10-of-19 from the floor. Tim Duncan led San Antonio with 25 points and 18 rebounds.

"He followed up the Dallas game very well,'' San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said of his second-year point guard. "It was good to see him do it two nights in a row. We've challenged him about his defense.

"He's a talented, intelligent young man and he's taken it on with Andre Miller tonight and Steve Nash the other night. It's a big part of his job night in and night out.''

San Antonio placed four players in double figures as Stephen Jackson and Steve Smith scored 10 apiece.

"My confidence is always going to be there,'' Parker said. "My shot may have some ups and downs, hopefully more ups than downs, but my teammates trust me and you just have to work those things out in your jump shot.''

Los Angeles was led by Michael Olowokandi's 20 points, while
Quentin Richardson added 19 and Elton Brand 16.

"We basically didn't hit shots out of the double-team,'' said Los Angeles coach Alvin Gentry after watching his team shoot 37.6 percent from the floor. "The NBA is all about spacing. We need to get that kind of spacing, and have guys step up and knock down shots.''

San Antonio had a 26-2 run bridging the second and third quarters and led 68-48 on a three-point play by David Robinson with 7:57 to play in the period.

Duncan had eight points and nine rebounds in the third quarter
as San Antonio outscored the Clippers 22-17 and led 78-64 going to
the fourth. Los Angeles cut its deficit to 84-75 on Brand's free
throw with 8:27 remaining in the game, but San Antonio answered
with a 6-0 run.

Los Angeles could get no closer than 13 points the rest of the
way as Parker scored 10 in the fourth.

"He's getting loose and getting comfortable out there,'' Duncan
said of Parker. "He's learning his role in the offense and filling
it nicely.''

San Antonio connected on 51.3 percent of its shots in the win.

"We definitely have to step up and just hit shots,'' said
Brand, who also pulled down 14 rebounds. "If you looked at the way
San Antonio plays as a team, and the type of personnel they have
with Danny (Ferry), Steve (Kerr) and Stephen (Jackson) all hitting
shots. Their spacing is great and that is what a playoff basketball team does.

"We are learning to get to be like that, but I think overall we
just have to do a better job of recognizing the double-teams and
make the necessary adjustments.''

San Antonio closed the first half with a 14-2 run and led 56-47
at intermission behind 12 points from Duncan. Parker had eight
points and seven assists in the half.

"That's two in a row,'' Parker said. "The Dallas game gave us
confidence and now we have to carry that with us out on the road.
We have to stay together and stay on the same page after two big
wins at home.''

San Antonio, which has played 14 of its first 23 games at home,
improved to 14-9 on the season, 11-3 at the new SBC Center.

Game notes
San Antonio came into the game leading the league in blocked shots (161) and added 10 against Los Angeles ... Los Angeles is now 4-7 on the road this season. ... With the win, San Antonio improved to 85-25 versus the Clippers, including 48-8 at home. ... San Antonio came into the game with the NBA's lowest opponent field goal percentage (40.9 percent) and held the Clippers to 37.6 percent from the floor. ... Duncan's double-double was his 15th of the season and 302nd of his career. ... Brand topped the 5,000-point mark for his career and now has 5,003.