San Antonio Spurs 113, Sacramento Kings 100: With help from Splitter, Parker keeps Spurs copacetic
So far as praise goes, there are a lot of words more flattering to a point guard than copacetic, but then, when it comes to giving praise to his own team, there are a lot moreÂ liberal coaches than San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.
â€œTony has been doing a great job of keeping everything copacetic,” Popovich said. “He is good in charge. He shared the ball, scored when we needed it. Again, tonight he gave us the energy to get us through the back-to-back.â€
In a few weeks the San Antonio Spurs will send one of their largest contingents in recent memory to Los Angeles for the 2011 All-Star weekend. There are three participants in the Rookie-Sophmore game (DeJuan Blair, Gary Neal, and assistant coach Mike Budenholzer), three in the main event (Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Popovich), and in all likelihood a player to be named for the three-point shootout (fingers crossed Matt Bonner).
Not making the return trip to California (unless you vote him in for the Skills Competition), Tony Parker made sure to leave a mark its residents could appreciate, following a masterful performance to down the All-Star host Los Angeles Lakers with a 25 point, seven assist night to put the Sacramento Kings down early. Tiago Splitter helped too.
Manu Ginobili gets the credit for being one of the best finishers in the NBA and (rightfully) the Spurs best player, while Duncan is lauded as the foundation for the team, but as Popovich stated, it’s Tony Parker that keeps everything copacetic.
More so than in any of his previous All-Star seasons, Parker is walking that fine line between distribution and scoring to near perfection most games, as he did last night. There has not been any specific improvement in his passing or court vision, but the decision making has been honed and the options around him vastly improved.
Of greater importance, as Popovich stated, Tony Parker is the legs that carries the Spurs so that Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan can focus strictly on what Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan do. So that on the wrong end of a back to back, on a random night in Sacramento, the Spurs had enough energy to take care of business without taxing Duncan (13 minutes) or Ginobili (26 minutes) too much.
Contributing to the cause of extending Duncan’s career, Tiago Splitter made another of his rare extended appearance, making the most of such minutes as he tends to do. Finding the numerous gaps in the Kings’ porous defense, finishing pick and rolls at the rim as Tim Duncan once did and Fabricio Oberto could only dream of doing.
More importantly, Splitter was able to move his feet and provide just enough resistance to help deter his rookie counterpart, the more physically imposing DeMarcus Cousins.
A Friday night in early February against a team like Sacramento will be long forgotten come Spring, but it is because performances like these on nights like last night that will have Duncan and Ginobili fresh enough to distract us from such performances.