for this game

Parker, Spurs cruise past Sonics

Apr 12, 2008 - 4:41 AM By Brian Guerra PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- Tony Parker scored 20 points as the San Antonio Spurs coasted to a 95-74 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics on Friday night at the AT&T Center. Michael Finley added 14 points and Fabricio Oberto chipped in with 10 and 10 rebounds.

San Antonio moved 1 1/2 games behind the New Orleans Hornets (55-23), who own the best record in the tough Western Conference. The Hornets face the Los Angeles Lakers (54-25) - who are tied with the Spurs (54-25) - later Friday night.

Rookie Kevin Durant, who finished with 20 points, scored 10 in the first quarter as the Sonics held a 20-13 lead heading into the second. But the Spurs were about to heat up.

"I think the first half we played hard, they came out and hit us in the mouth in the beginning of the second half, we just didn't come back it," Durant said.

"I think we picked up the pace a little bit," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "We had a lot of good shots in the first quarter and none of them dropped. But it's important not to hang your head because you don't miss shots all night very often."

San Antonio struggled early, shooting just 25 percent in the first quarter but found its groove throughout the rest of the game.

"We didn't have any rhythm in the first quarter. We told ourselves if we kept playing good 'D,' eventually we'd make shots," said Parker, who had seven of the Spurs' 26 assists.

Trailing, 22-13, San Antonio took a 26-24 lead after a 13-2 run early in the second quarter.

To cap off the quarter in which San Antonio outscored Seattle, 32-17, Michael Finley hit a 3-pointer with seven-tenths of a second left in the first half for a 45-37 lead at intermission.

A Bruce Bowen jump shot with 2:43 left in the third gave San Antonio a 68-51 lead, and Seattle, which trailed by as many as 24, would never get closer than 11 the rest of the game.

The Spurs were without Manu Ginobili, who missed the game with a mild strain in his left adductor. Popovich said Ginobili is doubtful for Sunday's game against the Lakers.

"Without Manu, we knew we had to be aggressive, it was a concentrated effort by everybody to contribute a little more. We got off to a slow start, but we knew once we hit some shots, we'd be alright," Spurs forward Ime Udoka said. "I think everybody picked up the slack pretty well."

Earl Watson pitched in 17 points and Nick Collison led all players with 14 rebounds for Seattle.

As a bonus, the Spurs were able to rest Parker and Tim Duncan the entire fourth quarter.

"At this point in the year, it's good to save up some energy and put some of that in the bank," Popovich said.

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