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Parker has big second half to lead Spurs past Wizards

Nov 29, 2007 - 5:57 AM By Brian Guerra PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- Tony Parker flirted with a triple-double, and the San Antonio Spurs surged in the second-half to beat the Wizards, 109-94, on Wednesday night.

Parker had 29 points, including 10 in each of the final two quarters. He also posted two season-highs with 11 assists and eight rebounds for San Antonio, which remains unbeaten at home.

"Tony Parker stepped his play up another notch tonight and became a one-man fast break," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "Honestly, we couldn't contain Tony tonight and that was a big difference."

Michael Finley and Parker combined for 16 points in a strong Spurs' third quarter in which they outscored Washington 30-24 to help take control of the game.

Brendan Haywood scored a season-high 19 points to lead the Wizards, who have lost eight straight in San Antonio. Antawn Jamison also pitched in 12 points and a team-high 13 rebounds.

In the first half, the Wizards managed to stay within reach of the Spurs, trailing only 49-46 at intermission.

The Spurs picked up the pace in the third, and that's when Finley got on track, hitting two 3-pointers, and scoring six of his 10 points. Parker scored 10, all of which came on baskets from inside five feet.

It was almost a tale of two Tony's. While he was solid in the first 24 minutes, the final 24 were played at a different speed. Parker admitted he came out looking to do more in the second half.

"I was trying to be patient in the first half. I was just trying to move the ball. In the second half, I was able to penetrate, look for my shot and be more aggressive," Parker said.

Parker's night was tough for the Wizards to match.

"We were trying to keep up with the energy, but they are one hell of a team. They're the champs," said Wizards forward Caron Butler, who finished with 16 points. "They always made the extra pass or did something to convert it to a great play."

Butler, who had Bruce Bowen guarding him most of the night, had been on a tear lately, scoring 35 against Dallas on Monday and 39 last week against Charlotte. He also had a triple-double on Friday. And Popovich credits Bowen, who was effective at denying Butler the opportunity to receive the ball in his sweet spots, for the sudden drop in scoring.

"Sometimes, we take Bruce for granted," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Caron Butler has basically been Michael Jordan here lately, and I thought Bruce did as good a job as anyone could possibly do on him."

Washington's defense was often porous, as Parker and Manu Ginobili, who finished with 19 points off the bench, got to the lane when they wanted to.

At one point in the third quarter, Parker took on the entire Wizards' team and ended up with a layup. He started by splitting two defenders, and then drove to the lane, where three Washington players converged on him. He scrunched up his body, and successfully scooped the shot underneath them.

And that probably wasn't even his most difficult shot of the night.

"What more can you say? He's doing some things in the paint against the bigs that only he can do," said Bruce Bowen, who scored 12 points. "That's an innate ability he has. You can't teach that."

"He has a special knack around the rim for sure," Popovich added.

Washington's starters played the entire first quarter, and it worked, as the Spurs held just a one-point lead, 24-23.

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