Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Like a fine wine, San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker continues to improve with age. And on Tuesday we saw just how good he can be if the team needs it.
Let me set the stage for you. The Spurs had just completed their annual "Rodeo Trip" - an eight game, two-week marathon while their home court was being used. The team was 5-3 on the trip, but for the first game back in the friendly confines of the AT&T Center, the team would be without two of it's three stars - Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan.
They have been without Ginobili off and on for a while but Duncan and Parker have continued to keep the team going to the tune of 38 wins against just 17 losses.
But on this night, Duncan would also be sidelined because of a sore right knee.
Parker was still available and he took control of the game right from the beginning. After assisting on the team's first basket (Kurt Thomas) Parker scored 16 consecutive points. He ended the night with 37 points, 12 assists, five rebounds and the respect of both his team and the opponents.
"He got whatever he wanted," said Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki.
"I thought Tony Parker was a super stud tonight. Not just because he scored, but he played defense. He ran the show out there and kept everybody involved," said Spurs coach Greg Popovich.
For the season, Parker is averaging 20.3 ppg and 6.6 apg - both career highs. He shoots 80.4% from the free throw line and 32.5% from three-point range
He is a better "real life" player than fantasy player, but that is because both he and his team don't leave their starters in once the game has been won. Parker averages just under 34 minutes per game, lowest of any guard in the top-15 in scoring.
It may not be best for Parker's fantasy owners, but it has helped the Spurs to three NBA championships.(2002, 04, 06)
Parker's career statistics