Tony Parker, Spurs hold off Hawks, 98-93


Tony Parker, Spurs hold off Hawks, 98-93

ATLANTA (AP) With Tim Duncan given a night off and Manu Ginobili still out with a hamstring injury, Tony Parker took the lead for the San Antonio Spurs.

Parker had 23 points and 12 assists, and the Spurs held off the short-handed Atlanta Hawks 98-93 on Saturday night for their fourth straight victory.

``Tony is just incredible,'' said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. ``What competitiveness. What a will to win. What a will to carry the team. He's really fun to watch at both ends of the court. And he's been doing that all year.''

The Spurs snapped a streak of three straight road losses with their first win away from San Antonio since Jan. 2.

Matt Bonner added 17 points, and Kawhi Leonard and Tiago Splitter each had 14 for the Spurs.

Parker had 10 points in the final period as the Spurs held off the Hawks' comeback. He was effective with his drives and when setting up Splitter on pick-and-roll plays.

``In the fourth quarter I was trying to be aggressive and take more shots and at the same time still find Tiago on the roll,'' Parker said. ``It worked out pretty well tonight.

``That's what I do best. I go to the paint and try to create, and if I feel comfortable when I go to the basket, I always feel like I can get a shot up. I've been doing that my whole life.''

The Hawks began the game with a new depth problem in their backcourt. The problem reached crisis level in the second half.

The Hawks announced about 90 minutes before the game that guard Lou Williams faces season-ending surgery for a torn ACL in his right knee. Williams was hurt Friday at Brooklyn and the tear was found when Williams was examined on Saturday by Dr. Michael Bernot in Atlanta.

Then the Hawks lost guard Devin Harris to a sprained left ankle early in the final period. Harris didn't return from the locker room after having the ankle taped.

Hawks coach Larry Drew said he had ``no idea'' on the severity of Harris' injury. Harris was hobbling in the locker room after the game, unable to put weight on his left foot.

``We are down to one point guard,'' Drew said, referring to Jeff Teague.

``We're certainly going to have to talk about getting some more bodies in here because we are depleted.''

Josh Smith led the Hawks with 21 points. Kyle Korver, who started at shooting guard, had 19 points and a season-high eight rebounds.

The Spurs led by 12 in the first half but Atlanta kept the game close in the final two periods. A basket by Hawks rookie John Jenkins tied the game at 72-all early in the final period, but Bonner's basket gave San Antonio the lead for good.

Jenkins made two free throws with 22 seconds remaining to cut the Spurs' lead to 94-91, but San Antonio beat the Hawks' full-court press for an easy basket by Splitter.

Drew called Williams' injury ``devastating'' to the team. Williams was third on the team with his average of 14.1 points.

Even though Williams usually came off the bench, his injury affected Drew's starting lineup. Korver started instead of Harris because Drew said he wasn't comfortable having both his healthy point guards - Harris and Teague - in the lineup.

Drew said the injury to Harris hurt the Hawks' comeback attempt.

``It certainly hurt us because I thought at that point we were really getting into a groove and a rhythm with our speed,'' Drew said. ``Kyle was making some shots. Josh was doing a good job in attacking the rim. We were active, and we were really getting up and down the floor. We lost Devin, and that kind of let the wind out of our sails a little bit.''

The Hawks have lost eight of 10.

``It happens during the season,'' Teague said. ``It just happens to be tough for us right now.''

Al Horford had nine points and 15 rebounds for Atlanta after missing Friday's loss with a sore left hamstring.

Bonner made all of his three 3-point attempts in the first half as the Spurs led 52-42 at the break. Korver had three 3-pointers in the half for Atlanta.

The Hawks had a strong start to the second half and took a 61-60 lead after Smith drove past Boris Diaw on the baseline. Diaw answered with a basket to start an 8-0 run for the Spurs, who led 72-70 entering the final period.

NOTES: There were fans wearing the colors for both teams in Sunday's NFC championship game at the Georgia Dome between the San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons. ... R&B artist Mary J. Blige was in the crowd. ... Popovich, asked before the game why Ginobili is with the team though he is expected to miss at least another week with a left hamstring injury, said ``eye candy.'' ... Korver has made at least one 3-pointer in a career-high 33 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in Hawks history. Mookie Blaylock had 3s in 42 straight games from March 26, 1996, to Jan. 11, 1997.

Quick Links

Phil Chenier becomes fifth Bullets player to ever have his jersey retired


Phil Chenier becomes fifth Bullets player to ever have his jersey retired

On the newest banner that hangs from the rafters at Capital One Arena, a small microphone - embroidered with a white 33 - is subtly stitched into the bottom left corner. 

You'd barely notice it was there; Phil Chenier certainly didn't.

Chenier, who had his #45 jersey retired tonight during halftime of tonight's Wizards-Nuggets game, didn't even notice the mic, added to signify his three decades as a broadcaster with the team.

"I had no idea there was even a mic on it," Chenier said, laughing. "I'll have to go back out and look at it some more."

Despite the Wizards' 108-100 loss, the night was first and foremost a celebration of Chenier - the 5th player in franchise history to have his number rasied in the rafters. He joins Earl Monroe, Elvin Hayes, Gus Johnson, and Wes Unseld as the only players to achieve the honor so far.

"To be up there with the other 4 names means a lot – people I had the fortune of playing with," he added. "I remember my first day of practice and I had just watched this team play in the finals and now I’m plopped down with Wes Unfeld and Earl Monroe and Gus Johnson. It seemed like they accepted me from the get go."

Many from that 1978 Championship team were in attendance on Friday night, watching as one of their teammates cemented his professional legacy. For Chenier, that acceptance as an All-Time Bullets great is at the core of why he played the game.

"You know, when you play this game, you play for acceptance," he said. "You want to be the best, you want to be accepted. Having players and childhood friends – and of course, your family – here, you’re surrounded by so many people that meant a lot to you both before and now. It’s a really humbling feeling.”

It was hard to find someone in DC without something good to say about Chenier on Friday night. Even in the basement of Capital One Center, after the Wizards' fifth loss in seven games, head coach Scott Brooks took a moment out of his press conference to praise Chenier. 

"[Chenier] is a great ambassador and we all love him," Brooks said. "It's well deserved. It's going to be pretty cool seeing his jersey every time we step into this building."

Fans left the arena with a commemorative Phil Chenier cut out. Phil Chenier left the arena with his number retired. The experience was, according to the man himself, everything he thought it'd be. 

"You don’t know what the emotions are going to be..." he told media members after the ceremony."...Obviously it’s something I thought about, but it really was exciting to see the 45 up there and my name."

Then Chenier cracked a smile.

"I’m glad it’s over with."

Quick Links

Wizards lose again, this time to Nuggets as offense falls flat

USA Today Sports Images

Wizards lose again, this time to Nuggets as offense falls flat

The Washington Wizards lost to the Denver Nuggets 108-100 on Friday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Another loss: It is becoming more and more clear that the Wizards need a shot in the arm, something to change the direction of where they are currently heading.

Whether that will come in the form of All-Star point guard John Wall returning from his months-long absence, an adjustment to their lineup or strategy, or something else entirely, the losses are piling up and at a tough time in the season.

With another loss on Friday night, their seventh in their last 11 games, the Wizards are now 40-32. They have plenty of room to still clinch a playoff berth, as their magic number stands at two, but they only have 10 games left to secure their all-important playoff seed.

Both the Pacers and Cavaliers, two teams just ahead of them in the playoff race, won on Friday.

The Wizards lost their second straight game and again offense was their problem. They scored 100 points, six below their season average, and committed 17 turnovers.

Big third quarter: The Denver Nuggets have emerged as a team on the rise, a young squad with burgeoning stars that could someday soon make some noise in the Western Conference. The reason is because they are very good on offense. Defense is a much different story.

That was not the case on Friday night, as the Wizards had all sorts of trouble scoring in three of their four quarters. They managed just 43 points by halftime, the fewest the Nuggets have allowed in a first half since Jan. 27.

The Wizards, though, did get cooking in the third quarter. They erupted for 33 points in the frame while shooting 63.2 percent from the field and 58.3 percent from three. Markieff Morris, who finished with 17, had 11 points in the third quarter and Bradley Beal (24 points) hit three threes.

The Wizards also found a solution for Jamal Murray, one of the Nuggets' brightest young stars. He had 20 points at halftime, but went scoreless in nine minutes in the third quarter. Kelly Oubre, Jr. (15 points) was among those who gave him trouble. Murry finished with 25.

The big third quarter reflected well on the Wizards' ability to make adjustments, but their 24-point fourth quarter flipped the script again.


Didn't force mistakes: The first time these teams squared off back in October, the Wizards forced the Nuggets into 23 turnovers. This game was a very different story. 

The Nuggets didn't commit their first turnover until midway through the second quarter and had only three by halftime. They had just 10 turnovers for the game.

Denver deserves some credit for limiting their mistakes, but all of it did not reflect well on the Wizards' defense. They didn't put enough pressure on the ball and failed to disrupt passing lanes like they usually do. It was uncharacteristic, as the Wizards entered the game 10th in average turnovers forced.

Not creating mistakes allowed the Nuggets to get way to many field goal attempts. Though they shot just 43.5 percent, Denver managed 108 points. And not getting turnovers offered the Wizards few opportunities for easy transition buckets.

Turnovers were one issue with the Wizards' defense. So was defending the perimeter, as the Nuggets shot 17-for-34 (50%) from long range. It is worth noting the Nuggets were without their leading scorer Gary Harris, a guy who is dangerous from long range.


Special night: Halftime offered a memorable moment in franchise history as legendary player and broadcast Phil Chenier had his No. 45 jersey retired by the team. His longtime broadcaster and friend Steve Buckhantz hosted the ceremony with about 20 friends and family members of Chenier's seated behind him. Buckhantz had opening comments, then majority owner Ted Leonsis spoke as everyone in the crowd stood and cheered.

Then, it was Chenier's time to talk. He thanked his former teammates, members of the organization and those close to him. He kept his composure until the very end when he brought up his mother, Peggy, who could not make the event. Chenier choked up and wiped away tears as he described what she has meant to him in his life.

It was a powerful moment and a great ceremony to honor a guy who has impacted the lives of many in the D.C. area. Now, his No. 45 will hang up in the rafters forever. That banner, by the way, features a picture of a microphone and the phrase '33 years,' signifying how long he was the color analyst for Bullets and Wizards games.


Up next: The Wizards do not have a game Saturday, though they are going to practice and Wall is expected to take a big step forward in his rehab. Their next game is Sunday at 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington when they host the Knicks. That will also be a special game, as the Wizards are set to honor the 40th anniversary of their 1978 NBA championship.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!