After setting a season high 42-points in a victory over the number one team (Oklahoma City Thunder) in the NBA on Saturday, San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker followed his own trail with a 21-point game on Monday, in a 89-84 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
However, Parker was not alone in his efforts, fellow leader Tim Duncan accompanied Parker on Monday with 19 points, 17 rebounds, and five blocks.
The Spurs began their traditional rodeo road trip on the right track Monday as they got back to the basics that once made this road trip a transition from potential title team to serious title contender with work in one key area, defense.
Early on, it looked like the Spurs might be in store for an early victory as the team took a 26-18 lead to end the first quarter. The Spurs had already gotten their lead as high as 12 points in the first quarter behind six points off the bench from guard Gary Neal (8 points). The Spurs continued their hot shooting pace from Saturday against Oklahoma City, as the team was 4-of-4 from beyond the arc in the first.
The second quarter was the “Tony Parker Show” as Parker scored 11 of his 15 halftime points in the second quarter. Matt Bonner and Tiago Splitter also pitched in with good production off the bench as they combined for 14 points; but a Jeremy Pargo buzzer beating shot helped the Grizzlies stay within six points of the Spurs at halftime.
The third quarter was where the game became interesting as the Spurs began the quarter with a 6-0 run to lead by as many as 13 points. The Grizzlies fought back behind Marc Gasol (22 points) and Mike Conley (19 points), who fueled a 16-2 run that helped the Grizzlies take the lead. The Spurs went cold in the third quarter by shooting 6-of-17 from the field, and 2-of-12 shooting outside of the paint. When the third was over, the Spurs faced adversity as they were trailing 73-67 going into the final quarter.
The Spurs’ bench helped make a charge at the beginning of the fourth quarter with a 9-2 run highlighted by a three pointer by James Anderson off of the bench. Duncan and Parker both wreaked havoc in the fourth quarter and the Spurs’ team defense is what really earned the team the victory as they held Memphis to just 11 points in the quarter, on 5-of-16 shooting. When it was all said and done, a pair of Danny Green free throws were the final nails in the coffin.
With the win, the Spurs are now 17-9 on the season, but more importantly, 4-8 on the road, and 1-0 to begin the nine game rodeo road trip. The team will fly to Philadelphia where they will play the upstart 76ers on Wednesday.