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Parker guiding Spurs back to NBA finals

Tony Parker continues to guide the San Antonio Spurs through the postseason and into a 2-0 Western Conference finals lead.

The Spurs must feel somewhat uncomfortable with their 2-0 lead in the series against the Memphis Grizzlies, but Parker is not uncomfortable at all.

For the second consecutive season, Parker had a sensational second game of the conference finals to push his team to a 2-0 lead. This season, Parker scored 15 points and dished out 18 assists. In the second half, Parker either scored or assisted in 14 of his teams 18 baskets.

Parker was asked during the week if his performance in game 2 reminded him of career assist leader in the NBA John Stockton. He calmly said no, it reminded him of Tony Parker.

He said he did not want to be anyone else but himself, with his own identity. He used to have disagreements with his head coach Gregg Popovich, who wanted Parker to be like Avery Johnson and the like Stockton. Parker told his coach he wanted a happy medium between passing and scoring.

With the Spurs, Parker has won three NBA championships and last season seemed to be leading them to his fourth. In game 2 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, he scored 34 points and had eight assists, in a victory that gave them a 2-0 series lead.

That win was the Spurs 20th consecutive win, but it was their last for the season. The Thunder came back and defeated the Spurs in four straight games to knock San Antonio out of the playoffs.

Parker understands, as does is teammates, that the team has not done anything else than maintain home court advantage with their first two wins.

Parker used the three days off from the series to rest his sore left calf. He had an MRI Thursday. Parker was inadvertently kicked in the calf during the previous series against Golden State. He said the knot he had in his calf was the worst he has endured in his career, but the rest has helped.

The Thunder last season made defensive adjustments on Parker that helped slow him down and Memphis has already done the same and will be looking to implement more in game 3.

The Grizzlies were able to slow down perennial high scorer Kevin Durant in the semifinals of the conference and have faced numerous challenges during the season against high scoring opponents.

Parker believes his passing game has become much better during his career. In game 2, he has an assist in each of the first seven baskets the Spurs scored in the second half. He then scored the next two baskets following his seven assists.

San Antonio will do all they can to win at least one of the next two games in Memphis to give them a 3-1 lead when they return for game 5 in San Antonio.

Look for more of the same from San Antonio on offense. Their long-range game has been on with perimeter players finding the open spot thanks to great passing and ball movement.


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