News » NBA 2009-12-11


NBA 2009-12-11


NBA 2009-12-11The idea arose the way many outlandish ideas in the NBA arise. From players with too much time on their hands.

During a lull in practice Tuesday, Tony Parker and Richard Jefferson got to talking about Jefferson's former life as a prolific alley-oop receiver, and how he hadn't completed one since coming to San Antonio.

"I said, 'We have to do something,'" Parker said. "We had to get Richard one alley-oop."

Less than 40 seconds into the Spurs' skid-stopping 118-106 victory over Sacramento on Wednesday night, Parker and Jefferson indeed did something about it.

Jefferson cut strong behind a baseline screen and rose toward the rim. One pass and one catch later, the pair had connected on their first official Spurs alley-oop.

Jefferson finished with 23 points, matching his total from the previous three games combined, and Manu Ginobili ended the game with a vintage Manu Ginobili spurt, helping the Spurs stop a three-game losing streak and, at 10-9, again peek over the .500 mark.

It was a must-have victory for the Spurs , who were kicking off a stretch in which six of the next seven opponents boast losing records.

"We knew we couldn't lose this game," said Ginobili, who finished with 20 points, his second game this season with at least that many. "We'd lost three in a row. Losing to Sacramento at home wouldn't have helped."

Parker ended with 18 points and a season-high 11 assists, starting with the early lob to Jefferson, who entered the game mired in a scoring slump and looking for a way to get going.

Dunks were a good start. Jefferson had four of them. By half, Jefferson had 18 points, more than he'd scored since logging 29 against Dallas on Nov. 11, in a game the Spurs played without Parker and Tim Duncan.

"For the most part, I just did things with confidence," Jefferson said. "I like to believe the more I play, the more used to the offense I'm going to get."

Perhaps the Kings just bring out this side of Jefferson. The last time he'd scored 20 points in game without Parker and Duncan sidelined? Oct. 31 against Sacramento.

While Jefferson often looked suspiciously like the high-flying scorer the Spurs thought they were getting when they traded for him, Ginobili looked a bit like the high-flying, game-altering player they used to know.

When things are going well, Ginobili has been the Spurs' designated closer. He showed flashes of that again Wednesday, starting with the end of the first half.

Sacramento had erased a 12-point lead and gone ahead 54-49 with 3:24 left, mostly by outrunning the Spurs in transition.

A Jefferson 16-footer followed by a Jefferson dunk cut it to one. After that, Ginobili, scoreless to that point, sunk back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Spurs control.

For a fourth-quarter encore, Ginobili scored nine points in the final 2:14 to finally put away the pesky Kings (9-12). The nail came with less than 2 1/2 minutes to play, when Ginobili got the ball in transition and completed a coast-to-coast scramble best described as "Ginobili-esque."

He finished a swooping layup, drew a foul on Omri Casspi, and put the Spurs ahead 110-102 with a free throw. Moments later, Ginobili drove for a two-handed dunk that put the exclamation point on the night.

Afterward, Ginobili said the slam-dunk contest between himself and Jefferson was no contest at all.

"Mine was a little less attractive than his," Ginobili said.

Jefferson was impressed nonetheless.

"Him making those spurts and finishing out games - that's him," Jefferson said. "That's what we're accustomed to seeing."

The Spurs could get used to this Ginobili again. They could get used to this Jefferson, too.

"We've never had a player like him," Parker said.

Wednesday night, with one alley-oop finish, Jefferson showed as much.


Play Basketball Hot Streak and win prizes!

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 11, 2009

 

 
Copyright © Kingswire.com, Inc. All rights reserved 2018.