HOUSTON – “The fans had a great time. That’s what it’s all about.”
That was San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich commenting on an entertaining All-Star game in which he led the Western Conference All-Stars to a 143-138 victory over the Eastern Conference All-Stars on Sunday.
“I mean those guys are the best in the world and they competed and worked hard,” Popovich said about the All-Stars who participated in the game.
Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul (20 points, 15 assists) led the Western Conference All-Stars and earned the game MVP honors. Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant added 30 points, the Clippers’ Blake Griffin added 19 points, and New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony led the East with 26 points and 12 rebounds.
Here’s a Spurs-focused rundown of the game in which Parker finished with 13 points, five assists, and two steals, and Duncan finished with two points and three rebounds.
First quarter: West 31, East 26
Parker: 7 minutes, 2 points, 2 assists
Duncan: 5 minutes, 3 rebounds
Immediately after Parker came in, he hit an open tear-drop on the right side of the paint. He would miss his second tear drop, but he was responsible for setting Russell Westbrook up for two baskets in the open court. Duncan’s only attempt in the first half was an open 3-pointer that was setup by Parker on a pick-and-roll. Duncan’s shot swirled in and out.
“I always shoot a three in the All-Star game and that was my chance,” said Duncan after the game. “I always get one up and it just didn’t go (in).”
Second quarter: West 69, East 65
Parker: 3 minutes, 2 points
Parker at half: 4 points, 2 assists, 2 steals
Duncan: DNP (Did not play)
On Parker’s only scoring affiliated play in the second quarter, he stole a pass in the open court and took Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat 1-on-1 where he put the ball through Bosh’s legs and then Parker was fouled. The whole arena made a giant “oh!” as it was the second time of the night Bosh had a ball put through his legs. Parker would sink both of his free throws afterward.
"As a point guard it's great to have all these guys coming up the court with you," said Parker after the game of getting to play with so much fire power on his roster.
Third quarter: West 108, East 104
Duncan: 3 minutes, 2 points, 3 rebounds
Duncan after three: 8 minutes, 2 points, 3 rebounds
Parker: 6 minutes, 5 points, 2 assists
Parker after three: 16 minutes, 9 points, 4 assists, 2 steals
When Duncan began, it was arguably the second or first best point guard in the NBA right now, Paul, delivering the pass to him for a two-handed slam dunk. Parker’s big basket was making an open 3-pointer from the corner where he’s made significant improvement. Parker also made an open 17-foot jumper toward the end of the quarter and had a fast pass for an assist to David Lee of the Golden State Warriors for the dunk.
After the game, Parker too had some positive thoughts on Paul’s MVP game.
"He was great,” Parker said of Paul, “He had a lot of assists. He hit some big shots."
Fourth quarter: West 143, East 138
Parker: 6 minutes, 4 points, 1 assist
Parker finishes with: 22 minutes, 13 points, 5 assists, 1 rebound, 2 steals
On one possession, Parker grabbed a defensive rebound and took the ball all the way down to the opposite end of the court where he made a layup. Before getting pulled to the bench, Parker’s last scoring basket was his patented tear-drop in the paint.
With Popovich as his coach for the game, Parker was surprised he logged a decent amount of minutes in the game.
"I was happy I played a bit more. It was fun," Parker said following the game.
Per the NBA – “Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, who turn 37 in April and May, respectively, played the fewest minutes of any of this year’s All-Stars. Garnett logged seven minutes. Duncan was on the court for eight minutes.”