In the Spotlight: Tony Parker

TP9 is expected to miss the next four weeks.

TP9 is expected to miss the next four weeks.

The French international’s MVP charge has taken a hit after suffering an ankle injury.

Tony Parker is extremely important to San Antonio and it will be interesting to see how they cope with out the 5-time NBA All-Star over the next four weeks.

The 30 year-old is now in his 12th season with the Spurs but is showing no signs of declining after following up being awarded the January Player of the Month with a string of impressive performances in February . Parker averaged 26.1 points per game during the month to boost his season average to 21ppg, his best since the 2008-09 season where he finished with 22.0.

Parker doesn’t just score but he can pick a pass as well as well as anybody in the league such is the consummate ease of controlling the ball. This is evident statistically with 10+ assists in a game on FIFTEEN occasions this season to average 7.6 dimes a game (6th best in the league). The 6’2″ guard is also the all-time leader in assists for the Spurs with over 5, 000 to his name and Parker demonstrated his awareness to set up Kawhi Leonard’s game-winner against Cleveland last month.

Parker has not come close to his 55 point haul against Minnesota in 2008 but has passed 30+ points on TEN occasions so far this season. A 2012-13 best of 33 came against Indiana in November while arguably his best performance came a month later when he posted 27 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists for a memorable triple-double on the road in Houston.

In his first season- back in 2001/02Parker made a bright start to his NBA career and ended the campaign averaging 9.2 ppg having been a regular starter. He became a consistent scorer and his average has stayed above 14 ever since. One blemish on the C.V of Parker was his 3-PT and free throw shooting which Coach Gregg Popovich highlighted. Improvements were made which makes Parker one of the greats as his number of attempts from long range reduced dramatically and his current FT % of 82.9 is a career-high.

San Antonio haven’t reached the NBA Finals since their last Championship victory in 2007 when Parker outshone LeBron James to claim the Finals MVP in a 4-0 cruise. The Frenchman has three NBA rings and will be desperate to add to that tally. The Spurs have the best record (46-14) in the NBA to date and will hope to maintain that in the absence of Parker over the next month before he returns from a Grade-2 left ankle sprain to lead their play-offs venture.

You can follow Tony Parker on Twitter: (@tonyparker)

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Game Night! ft. Milwaukee @ Brooklyn

JOHNSON COMES UP CLUTCH TWICE FOR THE NETS; SAN ANTONIO ROLL ON WHILE BOSTON FALL IN  DENVER

Joe Johnson forced overtime with a 3-pointer in the dying seconds then hit the game winner in the extra period to fire the Brooklyn Nets (32-22) to a 113-111 win over the Milwaukee Bucks (26-26). Johnson tallied 24 points, five rebounds and five assists with Brook Lopez and Deron Williams adding a further 19 each while Brandon Jennings produced a game-high 34 points for the visitors. The Nets looked in command during the first half and opened up a 61-51 advantage after two quarters before Milwaukee battled back in the third to take the lead after outscoring their opponents 30-19 during that period. The Bucks enjoyed their highest lead of the night at 92-87 before a tight finish ensued. Brooklyn edged ahead by a single point with 20 seconds on the clock only for Larry Sanders to wipe out the lead with a tip shot and Jennings then added two points from the line to make it 105-102. With the clock expiring Johnson fired in a three with 1.3 seconds to go to send the game beyond regulation. Keith Bogans tied the game at 111 with a triple for the Nets before Johnson sealed the game with a mid-range jumper with a second remaining.

San Antonio Spurs (43-12) made it four consecutive wins on the road with a 108-102 victory over the Sacramento Kings (19-36) inspired by a stellar display from Tony Parker. The French international finished with 30 points and also provided 11 assists for his team-mates with Danny Green (21) and Kawhi Leonard (15) the main beneficiaries while Tim Duncan narrowly missed out on a double-double with nine points and 14 boards. The Spurs raced out to a double digit lead early on after a Manu Ginobilli three made it 23-15 which became 28-19 after twelve. The next two quarters were shared in terms of scoring despite the visitors’ lead peaking at 14 points the gap remained at nine heading into the fourth. The Kings reduced their arrears to five points only for the Spurs to respond with a 7-0 burst to seemingly seal the game. However, Marcus Thornton netted EIGHT unanswered points in quick succession to make it a three-point game with less than a minute to play. San Antonio managed to hold on after Ginobilli added a free throw to follow a lay-up from Parker.

Toronto Raptors (22-26) continued their push for the play-offs with their FIFTH straight win after defeating the Washington Wizards (15-37) 96-88 in the capital. The first quarter was the main difference between the sides as the visitors opened up a 27-19 advantage with the next three played out evenly. Rudy Gay has been influential for the Raptors since his move from Memphis and top scored with 24 points, along with DeMar DeRozan, and dished out eight assists while the game-high honours went to Bradley Beal after his 25 point haul. Charlotte Bobcats (13-40) eased to a 105-92 win on the road against the Orlando Magic (15-38) in a game which pitted the two worst records in the Eastern conference.

Boston Celtics (28-25) were left to rue a poor third quarter as they were defeated 97-90 by the Denver Nuggets (34-21). Ty Lawson and Danilo Gallinari combined for 52 points while BBVA Rising Stars MVP Kenneth Faried dominated the glass with 16 rebounds.  Memphis (34-18) made it four wins in a row to remain fourth in the Western standings after a 105-91 victory against the Detroit Pistons (21-34). Chicago’s All-Stars combined to give the Bulls (31-22) a 96-87 win in New Orleans (19-35). Luol Deng top scored with 20 points while Joakim Noah had an impressive stat-line of 15 points, 17 rebounds, five assists and three blocks.

STAT: It was the 11th time this season that Joakim Noah has collected 15+ rebounds in a single game.

Utah Jazz (31-24) enjoyed a 115-101 triumph over the Golden State Warriors (30-23) despite a 29 point haul from Stephen Curry and in the final game Portland (25-29) fell to a 102-98 defeat at home to the Phoenix Suns (18-36). Goran Dragic had a career-high 18 assists as well as 16 points to inflict a sixth straight loss on the Trail Blazers, who were led by the trio of J.J Hickman, Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge who combined for 72 POINTS.

Check-out the heroics of Joe Johnson in Brooklyn with two clutch shots against the Bucks: (NBA)