Week in review: Spurs inch closer to top spot in West

The last time we saw Tony Parker in action, he was driving the lane in a meaningless All-Star Game. After a mentally and physically draining summer of basketball for the French point guard, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said Parker would be out for "for the foreseeable future" with "a variety of maladies."

Last Sunday Parker made his return after missing six games and did not miss a beat. He finished with 22 points and dished out seven assists as the Spurs defeated the Dallas Mavericks 112-106 on Sunday evening at the AT&T Center. Parker helped lead a balanced attack for San Antonio, who used the same efficient style they have used all season long to battle through various injuries to still have a shot to grab the top spot in the Western Conference from first place Oklahoma City.

The team continued to add to their NBA-best road record with a 122-101 rout of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday at Quicken Loans Arena. Parker stuggled and finished with just seven points, but he was not need too much as San Antonio easily took care of business against one of the weaker teams in the Eastern Conference.

It was the most talked about game of the season for the Silver & Black as they welcomed the two-time defending champion Miami Heat to the friendly confines. Parker bounced back from the off night he had on Tuesday to score 17 points, four assists and two steals on 6-of-14 shooting. Most of Parker's damage came in the first half as he found his shot early and used his aggressive offense to slash past the Miami defense. Tim Duncan posted 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the victory. The weird stat of the night for the Spurs: backup point guard Patty Mills had ten rebounds!

The good

Tony Parker – Welcome back Tony, all Spurs fans have missed you and you showed us why.

Danny Green – He had his best game of the season against the Cavaliers as he posted 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting and was 3-for-7 from beyond the arc. Hopefully this is a sign of good things to come and we see the Danny Green that lit up LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the 2013 NBA Finals.

Tim Duncan – Duncan continues to shut critics up with "retirement" and "too old" talk as he continues to play at a high-level on both ends of the court. What impressed me is Duncan's defense, he continues to be a force in the paint and continues to be one of the top three players in the league at controlling the defensive glass.

The bad

Marco Belinelli – Through three games this week, he had averaged just 8.0 points per game and seems to have cooled off his shot from beyond the arc. This has raised concern in Spurs fans, wondering if he will pull a Roger Mason Jr. in the playoffs and not be able to produce.

Turnovers – If the Spurs want to be successful, they have to take care of the basketball. San Antonio has had 17 or more turnovers in 21 games this season, they have gone 15-6 in those games. On Thursday night the Spurs turned the rock over 17 compared to Miami's 21.

Looking ahead

It's not too tough schedule wise over the coming week. Orlando tomorrow, in Chicago on Tuesday, back home for Portland on Wednesday and home for the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday. Thankfully the Spurs get two days off after Saturday's game. The only tough game I see is against Portland because it is the second game of a back-to-back. Get ready Spurs fans, the race for the number one seed is going to come down to the wire.

About Stephen Anderson

Stephen serves as an editor or writer at several Project Spurs Network sites, including Project Spurs, Stars Hoops, Rampage Central and Red Black 90. He is studying at the University of the Incarnate Word and brings his unique writing style from Minute By Minute Sports. He also is a staff writer for UK entertainment website Reality Box. Be sure to follow him on Twitter (@imsteveanderson) for all the latest news on San Antonio area sports.