San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (9), of France, shoots as Atlanta Hawks guard Ronald Murray (22), guard Joe Johnson (2), and Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith look on during the second half of their NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Atlanta. San Antonio won 102-92. (AP Photo/John Amis)
Tony Parker spent the past month scoring big to compensate for the absence of Manu Ginobili. With Ginobili back, Parker picked up his scoring even more to help the San Antonio Spurs win without Tim Duncan.
Parker scored 42 points and the Spurs ended Atlanta's eight-game home winning streak with a 102-92 victory on Wednesday night.
``In San Antonio there are high expectations,'' Parker said. ``Nobody cares if Manu is out for 30 games and Timmy is in and out. They want to see us in the top and that's what we're trying to do.''
Despite the loss, the Hawks clinched their second straight playoff spot, thanks to losses by Milwaukee, Charlotte and New Jersey.
Parker, who has held or shared the team lead in scoring in 16 of the Spurs' past 17 games, enjoyed his second-best scoring total of the season. He set a career high with 55 points at Minnesota on Nov. 5.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich rested Duncan the day after a home win over Golden State. Duncan already sat out back-to-back games earlier this month to rest his knees.
Parker made 18 of 25 shots and each of his six free throws.
``My shot was feeling good tonight and it opened up stuff for me in the second half,'' said Parker, who had 10 assists.
``I'm just going to try to keep it going and not be satisfied with myself because you know Pop is going to be on me the next game.''
Hawks coach Mike Woodson said he tried different defensive schemes but none were effective.
``Parker was the difference tonight,'' Woodson said. ``We were a step behind him from the very beginning.''
The Hawks remained a step behind Parker to the end, when the guard scored six straight points after the Hawks cut San Antonio's lead to 96-90.
``It got to the point we didn't know what to do with him,'' Atlanta's Al Horford said. ``He had a great night tonight.''