for this game

Parker, Spurs rout Jazz, grab third seed

Apr 17, 2008 - 5:32 AM By Brian Guerra PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- Tony Parker had 24 points and 12 assists as the San Antonio Spurs cruised to a 109-80 blowout victory over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night at the AT&T Center.

With the win, San Antonio (56-26) clinched the third seed in the Western Conference, while Utah (54-28) held on to the fourth spot but not home-court advantage.

The Spurs will take on the sixth-seeded Phoenix Suns in the first round, while the Jazz face off with the fifth-seeded Houston Rockets.

Tim Duncan added 14 points and 11 rebounds, despite not playing in the fourth quarter for San Antonio, which has not lost to Utah on its home floor since February 28, 1999 - 21 straight games - and looked primed for another playoff run.

Six players scored in double figures and the Spurs shot a season-high 59 percent from the floor. The Jazz couldn't slow down the Spurs' transition offense, which outscored their opponents, 18-2, on the break.

"The Spurs just came out and got after us on defense, and we couldn't respond," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "We started taking jump shots, and our shots became layups at the other end of the floor. Tim Duncan was running the floor and setting the stage for everyone. They wouldn't let us take a breath tonight."

San Antonio, which scored just 64 points in its ugly loss April 4 at Utah, scored 65 in the first half on 72 percent shooting on Wednesday.

Parker's steal and layup gave the Spurs a 14-4 lead with 8:14 left in the first quarter. The Spurs scored 22 of their 30 points inside the paint and held a nine-point lead heading into the second.

"He's in great shape, he's healthy, and it's playoff time," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of Parker, who had a season high in assists.

Manu Ginobili, who missed three games with a hamstring injury, didn't miss a beat. He finished with 12 points on 4-of-4 shooting, along with six rebounds and four assists in 19 minutes.

"I felt good a couple of days ago, but I didn't want to race anything, so we took it easy, and I felt great today," Ginobili said.

The Spurs outscored the Jazz, 35-18, in the second quarter, and used a 14-3 run to pull away, including back-to-back 3-pointers from Ime Udoka and Michael Finley, pushing the lead to 55-33 with just under four minutes left in the first half.

Another Finley 3-pointer gave the Spurs a 60-36 lead with 2:18 left in the first half.

"The way we played tonight and paid attention to detail reassured us that we're capable of doing things this time of the year," Spurs guard Brent Barry said. "Our focus tonight was fantastic, and you can see the type of moxy this team has."

Deron Williams, who suffered a bruised tailbone sometime in the first half, did not come out of the locker room after halftime. He said he'll be ready for the playoffs.

"I'm going to play. Coach said not to do anything stupid, so I just decided to sit out the second half," Williams said.

C.J. Miles led the Jazz with 12 points, nearly all coming late in the game, while Mehmet Okur scored 11 points, seven of which came from the free-throw line.

"We played terrible, and they played great," Utah forward Carlos Boozer said. "They kicked our butts."

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