Parker, Spurs provide lesson plan

After the Dallas Mavericks improbably knotted their first-round series with San Antonio 3-3, bringing the Spurs to the brink of elimination, the Spurs have now won their past two games by a total of 47 points, with Parker scoring 65 points total in that span.

He's played so well these past two games that the scales might have even been tipped more toward apt than obnoxious when the AT&T Center crowd serenaded him with an "M-V-P" chant in the second half, even though Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant was awarded the trophy earlier in the day.

"I think we had a great Game 7 where everybody was really focused, really understood the game plan, our energy was there, and I think that just carried over into this one," said Tim Duncan, who had 12 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks during an easy 24-minute night. "I hope we can carry it throughout."

Parker, who twisted his left ankle in Game 4 against Dallas and was still receiving treatment on it right up until Game 1 against Portland, seems content on continuing to carry the Spurs.

"I'm fine," Parker said. "I barely played in April. Pop rested me so many games, I was joking with him if I was still with the Spurs.

The Spurs were supposed to be the exhausted team Tuesday, having gone the distance with Dallas and thus getting two fewer days' rest than the Blazers, who scuttled the Rockets in six.

Blazers coach Terry Stotts even joked before tipoff about their experience: "Some people call it experience, some people call it age. Depends on your perspective."

But it played out just the opposite. The Spurs got the 50-50 balls. The Spurs made that extra step on their closeouts.

The Spurs were quicker in putting a body on someone to box out as soon as a shot went up. Twelve of Portland's 20 turnovers came as a result of steals by San Antonio. They just blitzed the Blazers.

"That's as well as I've seen San Antonio play," said Stotts.

"That's a championship team," said Lillard.

"I think they definitely came out and they let us know how it's going to be," said Aldridge.

Meanwhile, it wasn't just Parker on the top of his game for San Antonio. The Spurs' bench outscored the Blazers' reserves 50-18, and that's with Manu Ginobili struggling with only two points on 0-for-6 shooting from the field. Marco Belinelli picked up the slack, scoring 19 points on 7-for-9 shooting, something that Parker called the "best news of the night."

Popovich said he hadn't "figured out anything magical" to thwart Portland before the game, but he sure seemed to sprinkle some pixie dust on Aron Baynes when he plucked him from the bench in waning minutes of the first quarter.

Baynes played just six total minutes in the first round -- garbage time in at the end of San Antonio's Game 7 blowout win -- before all of the sudden getting seven minutes in the first half alone in Game 1, putting up eight points on 4-for-4 shooting and five rebounds before halftime en route to 10 and seven for the night.

"Tonight was really like textbook Spurs basketball," said Diaw.

And the first chapter in that textbook was all about Parker.

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