SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- It's easy to see why Tony Parker (188-PG-82) is headed to another All-Star game.
Parker had 31 points and seven assists, and the San Antonio Spurs earned their eighth consecutive win by shutting down the Phoenix Suns in the final quarter for a 108-99 victory on Saturday night.
''He is unbelievable,'' said teammate Manu Ginobili, who had 20 points. ''I cannot say he became a fourth-quarter finisher this year because of how he played last year, especially in the first two months. But he is in that point of his career where he is so confident. He is doing so good that he can relax a little bit in the first half then when we need him, he starts making those jumpers and takes over.''
Tiago Splitter had 13 points and Boris Diaw finished with 11 for San Antonio (36-11), which has won 16 in a row at home.
Michael Beasley had 25 points and Jared Dudley scored 23 for the Suns (15-29), who lost for the first time since coach Lindsey Hunter took over.
''He's their best player,'' Dudley said of Parker. ''He's their best offensive threat. He knows their offense. If they don't have him, I know the Spurs are always good, but they can't win without him.''
Playing without Tim Duncan (sore knee) and coach Gregg Popovich (illness) for a third consecutive game, the Spurs needed a clutch performance from Parker in the fourth and he stepped up again.
Showing no ill effects from a blow to the head by Elton Brand that required three stitches during a 113-107 victory at Dallas on Friday night, Parker had 11 points and five assists as San Antonio outscored Phoenix 27-17 in the fourth, forcing six turnovers in the period. The speedy point guard finished 13 for 17 from the field and only had three turnovers in 34 minutes.
The Spurs turned up their defensive pressure in the final period, forcing three turnovers and three missed shots while building a 96-88 lead with 6:21 remaining. Parker had four points and an assist in the 7-0 run, including racing down the court for a layup after stepping in front of a pass by Markieff Morris.
''Over the last few years it is becoming my team and coach Pop is always challenging me to become the franchise player who closes games and makes good decisions with the ball offensively for myself and my teammates,'' Parker said. ''I always take to heart Pop's challenges.''
San Antonio grabbed control after Ginobili was knocked down by Shannon Brown with 31.4 seconds left in the third, leading to a flagrant foul and an ejection.
Brown struck Ginobili violently across the side of the head as he attempted to recover defensively after getting beat off the dribble. Ginobili also was undercut by Morris almost simultaneously, leading to loud jeers by the crowd. The ejection shocked Brown, who watched mouth agape as the foul was replayed on the video screen.
''I saw a clear path and I thought I was going to go to lay it up and then I felt that hit in the head and I did not know what happened,'' Ginobili said. ''I knew it was a flagrant foul, but I did not see what the player was doing.''
The play invigorated Ginobili, who had two steals and a 3 to bridge the third and fourth quarters and tie the game at 84.
Hunter refused to blame the foul for Phoenix's struggles in the fourth.
''We talk about being a no-excuse organization and that's no excuse,'' he said. ''We're not at that level right now, but I can tell you this, it won't be long before we are.''
Just as it did in Wednesday's 106-102 victory over New Orleans, San Antonio struggled early.
The Spurs missed their first three shots while failing to score in the first 3 minutes. After Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard each missed a 3, Parker scored on a layup after Goran Dragic fell while attempting to backpedal defensively.
The basket sparked the Spurs, who made their next 10 attempts in a 22-13 run. Parker scored 10 points during the run, including a layup that put San Antonio up 22-19 with 4 minutes left.
Beasley scored 10 points in the second quarter, including six during an 11-6 surge that put Phoenix ahead 49-48 with 4:21 left in the half.
''They have history,'' Beasley said. ''They just know how to win. The same guys have been here for the last hundred years. They know how to play with each other. They've won titles on top of titles. We've got to be able to take care of the ball, at the very least get a shot.''
NOTES: Duncan has sat out four games this season after missing eight during last year's strike-shortened season. ... Suns F Channing Frye (enlarged heart) remains out indefinitely. Frye has not played this season. ... The Spurs swept the season series against the Suns last season, winning the four games by an average of 8.5 points. ... Phoenix general manager Lance Blanks spent five seasons in San Antonio's front office, ascending to director of scouting before joining the Suns. Courtesy of: The Associated Press
Limoges CSP Elite (ProA) signed 31-year old American power forward Joseph Jones (206-111kg-86, college: Texas A&M). He started the season at Azad in Iranian Superleague. In 17 games he had very impressive stats: 15.2ppg, 7.2rpg, 1.8apg and 1.7spg this season. The last season Jones played at CB Canarias in Spanish Liga Endesa where in 28 games he recorded 6.6ppg and 2.8rpg. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others his team made it to the Israeli Cup final in 2015. Jo... [read more]
Limoges CSP Elite (ProA) signed 31-year old American power forward Joseph Jones (206-111kg-86, college: Texas A&M). He started the season at Azad in Iranian Superleague. In 17 games he had very impressive stats: 15.2ppg, 7.2rpg, 1.8apg and 1.7spg this season. The last season Jones played at CB Canarias in Spanish Liga Endesa where in 28 games he recorded 6.6ppg and 2.8rpg. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others his team made it to the Israeli Cup final in 2015. Jones was also voted Eurobasket.com All-Balkan League Center of the Year back in 2012. He is quite experienced player. Jones has played in seven different countries on three different continents (Europe, Latin America and of course North America). He has played previously professionally in Dominican Rep., Puerto Rico (Cangrejeros), Turkey (Oyak Renault), Israel (Galil Gilboa and Hapoel Jerusalem), France (STB Le Havre), Spain (Zaragoza) and Dominican Republic (Metros de Santiago). Jones attended Texas A&M University until 2008 and it is his ninth season as a professional player.
Myles Hesson and Devon Van Oostrum Suffer Season-Ending Injuries - 22 hours ago
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Myles Hesson (198-F-90) and Devon Van Oostrum (190-G-93, agency: Octagon Europe) both face long spells on the sidelines after sustaining season-ending injuries. Both players took to social media to make their announcements which will come as a double blow to GB ahead of this summer's EuroBasket tournament. Hesson was having another strong season in France - with a Pro-A career-high 29 points last month - and averaged 12.4 points and 5.1 rebounds per game on the season. The forward had als... [read more]
Myles Hesson (198-F-90) and Devon Van Oostrum (190-G-93, agency: Octagon Europe) both face long spells on the sidelines after sustaining season-ending injuries. Both players took to social media to make their announcements which will come as a double blow to GB ahead of this summer's EuroBasket tournament. Hesson was having another strong season in France - with a Pro-A career-high 29 points last month - and averaged 12.4 points and 5.1 rebounds per game on the season. The forward had also impressed for Gravelines in the FIBA Europe Cup this season and revealed he has had surgery after fracturing his tibia. 'I'm sad to announce that I will miss the remainder of the season,' Hesson said on Facebook. 'I have broken my shin bone. Surgery went well so now I'm on the road to recovery. 'I'm a firm believer in the saying 'that what doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger' - I will return better than ever.' According to French website, 'La Voix Du Nord', the club's physio estimates Hesson being out for around 3-4 months. Meanwhile, Van Oostrum had recently joined MZT Skopje to play in the Adriatic League alongside Daniel Clark (210-F/C-88) following a spell in Greece. The 24-year-old guard was averaging 8.7 points per game, but a torn ACL has curtailed his season. Van Oostrum and Hesson both played together on the squad that competed in GB's last EuroBasket four years ago. Courtesy of: hoopsfix.com
French NM1 round 24 best performance: Karim Gourari (by Court Side) - 2 days ago
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Forward Karim Gourari (204-F-89) had a great game in the last round for RAC Basket, receiving a Court Side NM1 Player of the Week award for round 24. The 27-year old player had a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds, while his team beat GET Vosges (#6, 14-10) 90-84. RAC Basket maintains the 4th position in French NM1. They would have been even better if they hadn't lost a few games earlier this season. RAC Basket will need more victories to improve their 16-8 record. In the team's l... [read more]
Forward Karim Gourari (204-F-89) had a great game in the last round for RAC Basket, receiving a Court Side NM1 Player of the Week award for round 24. The 27-year old player had a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds, while his team beat GET Vosges (#6, 14-10) 90-84. RAC Basket maintains the 4th position in French NM1. They would have been even better if they hadn't lost a few games earlier this season. RAC Basket will need more victories to improve their 16-8 record. In the team's last game Gourari had a remarkable 70.0% from 2-point range. It's his second year at RAC Basket and it's hard to imagine this team without him. Karim Gourari has solid league stats. He is in league's top in rebounds (4th best: 7.9rpg) and averages impressive 57.6% FGP.
The second best player in last round's games was 29-year old American Gregg Thondique (201-F-87, agency: Octagon Europe) of Gries/Oberhoffen. Thondique had a very good evening with a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds. Of course he led Gries/Oberhoffen to another comfortable win 77-63 over Vitre (11-13) being unquestionably team leader. The game was between two teams which are definitely not main contenders for the title. Gries/Oberhoffen keeps 12th position. His team is not often considered as one of the league's best with a mere 11-13 record. Thondique is a newcomer at Gries/Oberhoffen, but is already one of team's top players. He belongs to the best scorers in the league with 16.1ppg (#8). He also registered 9.8 boards per game.
Third on the list of top players last round was Senegalese guard Xane d'Almeida (181-PG-83) of Lourdes (#7). d'Almeida showcased his all-around game by recording 14 points, ten rebounds and eight assists in the last round. He was a key player of Lourdes, leading his team to a 93-72 easy win against the lower-ranked SAP Vaucluse (#15, 10-14). Lourdes needs these victories very badly if they think about getting closer to top teams. Their record at this point is 13 victories and 11 lost games. d'Almeida has a very solid season. In 22 games in France he scored 13.5ppg. He also has 4.5rpg and 7.3apg. Xane d'Almeida has also French passport and can play in the league with a status of domestic player.
Other top performing players last week: 4. Rolandas Jakstas (202-F-92) of Gries/Oberhoffen - 20 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists 5. Ludovic Vaty (206-C-88) of Lourdes - 22 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists 6. Omar Strong (175-PG-90) of St Vallier - 33 points and 4 assists 7. Ron Anderson (205-F/C-89) of RAC Basket - 16 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists 8. Demarco Cox (203-C-90) of Challans - 15 points and 8 rebounds 9. Jourdan Demuynck (198-G-90) of Lourdes - 18 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists 10. Deremy Geiger (180-PG-90) of SAP Vaucluse - 22 points and 2 assists
The Player of the week is chosen based on efficiency calculation, but also including game result, importance of the game, if played recorded double-double/triple-double, etc. The efficiency formula is a combination of various formulas used by different basketball organizations/leagues. We got involved many basketball scouts and journalists to assure it's accuracy. The formula: 1.5*PTS + 3* (REB+AST+ST+BL-TO) - 2*BSAG - 4*PF + 3*PFRV + 4* (2FGPM+3FGPM) + 1.5*FTM - 3* (2FGPA-2FGPM) - 3* (3FGPA-3FGPM) - (FTA-FTM)
The Player of the Week awards are presented by Court Side. Court Side is the global leader in basketball management, and is widely regarded as the most dynamic and innovative company of its kind. It was the first Basketball Agency to launch its own website, and the first to have its own database. Court Side has more agents and manpower within its organization, than any other competitor, and its international network of basketball contacts is still unparalleled.
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