The Other Point Guard Shines For Spurs in Game 3

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OAKLAND, Calif. – Oh, yeah. The other guard.

Tony Parker – the name is slightly familiar – made his presence known in the Western Conference semifinals Friday night after two games of talk of Stephen Curry as the new force at the point and Klay Thompson as the perfect backcourt running mate.

Big deal.

Parker has been to the playoffs once or twice before and insisted the Curry-Thompson chatter, practically a glow that followed the Warriors from San Antonio back to Oracle Arena, did not inspire him. The other talk, that he listened to.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told Parker to be more aggressive with his shot, and that seemed like a pretty good time for Parker to start caring about a reaction to the first two games and a 1-1 series. Popovich spoke, Parker responded, the Spurs won Game 3, and the Warriors had a new problem on their hand. One of the best point guards in the world is dialed in again.

Parker went from 43 shots and 41.9 percent the first two outings to 25 points in the first half alone while making 11 of his 14 attempts and, finally, to a game-high 32 points in all while going 13-for-23 from the field to lead the Spurs to a 102-92 victory and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series that continues Sunday afternoon at Oracle. More importantly, he went from the Parker the Spurs played to the Parker the Spurs need to offset the play of Curry and Thompson.

“I think sometimes he gets a little bit obsessed about driving it, getting to the rim,” Popovich said. “When he does that, he turns down jumpers and he forgets to play with teammates. But when he’s like tonight, like he’s played most of the season, he’ll stop, shoot the open jumper, he’ll get his share of assists, and that’s what we need him to be. He’s a scoring point guard, but he has to do it with a jump shot as well as a drive. He did that tonight.”

It was a potential turning-point night on several fronts for the backcourts. Cory Joseph delivered solid minutes at backup point guard that proved important with Parker staying fresh while logging 35 minutes, and especially important because Popovich thought Parker got tired two days before in San Antonio. Curry sprained his left ankle again, with five minutes to play in the fourth quarter, and stayed in, but was clearly limited as the “Curry Ankle Watch” begins anew, with no immediate prognosis after the game and an update expected at practice Saturday.

Parker, though, was the most significant development of all.

“I was just trying to be aggressive, watch film of the first two games,” he said. “They always try to push me left. That’s the shot they were giving me. In warmups, that was almost the only shot I practiced, going left. Make sure I knocked down that shot. Once I make that shot, it opens up everything. I was just determined to make sure I take good shots and be aggressive the whole game.”

Thompson said Parker was doing the same thing as before, “just taking shots at a higher rate.” Which was partly true. More shots, yes, but also a different attitude going in, instructed by Popovich more than inspired by some perceived slight against the Curry-Thompson limelight.

27 Comments

  1. Amused says:

    Spurs vs. Heat in the Finals…

  2. magicmike says:

    where’s the GSW bandwagon now? tired of hearing sh^t that Spurs are too old. They tend to forget that with age comes with wisdom and experience, now it’s time to win game 4 and 5.

  3. Texas Rattle Snake says:

    Fortunately for GSW, the Euro-Step Master (Ginobili) doesn’t have still his groove back, since maybe there is still a little rust after the injury. But when TP and TD are playing championship basketball, with the whole team is committed defensively, then adding a Manu magic – disaster for GSW. One game at a time Spurs! Go get that 5th ring! Go Spurs Go!

  4. Jonathan says:

    I find it funny how each game the bandwagon fans switch back and forth. After game 1, people said that the spurs shouldn’t have won. After game 2, people became convinced that the warriors would win in 6, even though all any team has to do to beat the warriors is shut down Thompson and Curry. The second they did that in game 3, golden state had no answer for the spurs. Now all of a sudden, people are back saying that the spurs will win. Make a pick and stick with it, and stop changing back and forth based on one game. I had spurs in 5 at the beginning of the series and I stuck with it after game 2 and I’m sticking with it now

  5. Aces-215 says:

    A healthy and aggressive Parker is right up there with CP3 for best PG in the league and is an MVP candidate. If he plays to his level, this series is over in 5 or 6. BTW Timmy has been the best Center in basketball this year from beginning to now and stop saying he’s a PF.

  6. David says:

    People were talking about Curry, when they forgot about Parker. Parker is elite… one of the top PGs in the NBA, gives every team hard time guarding him. Spurs will win in 5-6

  7. Rudy Suarez says:

    Looks Like Spurs Magic Will Survive…

  8. Coach POPOVICH and the SPURS guys just SOLVED the Curry/Thompson/Bogut PUZZLE.

    The WARRIORS rely too much on outside shooting for offense.
    But as the series move on and their shooters get tired, those same shots WILL NOT fall in the bucket.

    On the other hand, SPURS is just getting their championship mojo and swag back.
    Unfortunately, a limited David Lee, a hobbling Curry, a foul-prone Bogut will not be enough
    to avoid their forthcoming elimination.

    SPURS will finish this in 5 games.

    GO SPURS GO !!! 2013 Champs = SPURS

  9. reyandrade says:

    Speaking of bandwagon, everyone likes to count out the Spurs because when they lose, they are old but everyone beat a championship caliber team but if the Spurs win it’s just another day in the office for this team that in Duncan era 16 yrs running has never missed the playoffs and always, always, always stay competitive and relevant. The pieces work because the philosophy is simple. Popovich talks his players listen and they just keep going, never get rattled and just play and WIN!!!! All they do is WIN!!!! #Spurs Own

  10. ko0kiE says:

    as we didn’t know that Tony Parker is not only one of the best PGs but one one of the best players in the league.. he certainly is the Spurs best player nowadays. he may not be as good of a 3point shooter as curry or other guys but he’s the only guard except Wade to shoot better than 50% during the regular season.

  11. Jacob Cunningham says:

    Bad game for GSW!They will win Game 4 and pound the Spurs!!!LETS GO WARRIORS!!!

  12. dean says:

    lol so quick to jump back out of the GS bandwagon

  13. ELCHATO says:

    YEA!!! BABY, Good Defense and a much better shooting percentage can make a Big Difference. Go Spurs Go.!!!

  14. Rafael Godinho says:

    Saw this one coming. Curry is great, but misses D to be a HOF type guy. Think GS still has a shot if his ankle holds on.

  15. karmazz11 says:

    mvp caliber

  16. Fefe (Nets) says:

    T.P. is a beast

  17. Nate Shields says:

    I don’t get the reference to his 43 shot tally over the first to games as a sign of his lacking the necessary shooting agression. Seems like a lot of shots to take. Pretty much the same number per game that he took last night. What was that stat supposed to prove?

  18. kavika6 says:

    One less point than Curry & Thompson combined, and that was with a terrible second half.

  19. kilroy says:

    Parker > Curry

    spurs in 5

  20. Warriors live by the three … and they will die by the three.

    And speaking of threes … it will be 3-1 SPURS after Game 4.

    GO SPURS GO !!!

    • NBA Fan "08 says:

      So true. If the warriors can’t make shots, they lose and thats not playoff basketball. The spurs know how to grind out games. If you think about it, the warriors are the only remaining playoff team that depends on good shooting. Its do or die for them. Warriors are easy to read on offense and they run the same plays everygame. If curry is the new “superstar”, shouldnt he be able to score on a guy like Danny Green? Lebron,Cp3,Wade, and even nate robinson would go off on that guy. And in game 3, curry got hurt by an invisible player!!!??? If curry cant play, the warriors look so horrible to watch some times. A 100% curry could barely keep the warriors within distance. Im sorry, but its over for the warriors. Spurs in 5.

      • Chad says:

        They are also a lot different if they have David Lee. He is the glue guy of that team. gives them rebounding and toughness and a good consistent inside outside scorer. if he were healthy they wouldnt have to live and die by the 3. They are just missing a good player to battle the bigs down low when they arent running and gunning. Much needed in a half court set.