SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Tony Parker had a tough time for three quarters - and then proved that he knows plenty about closing a game.
Parker scored 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter to help the San Antonio Spurs beat the Portland Trail Blazers 99-83 on Friday and stay unbeaten at home.
Parker shook off a slow start as the Spurs (8-4) improved to 8-0 at home, their best start since the 2007-08 season when they started 13-0.
``They did a pretty good job on me the first three quarters,' Parker said. ``I was just trying to wait for my time.'
Portland (7-4), meanwhile, lost its second straight game and for only the second time in its last 10 games against San Antonio.
Tiago Splitter scored 14 points for the Spurs, and DeJuan Blair and Danny Green each added 13. Rookie Kawhi Leonard had 11.
Parker made only four of 12 shots and had four turnovers through the first three quarters. In the fourth quarter, though, he went 4 of 4 from the field and the free-throw line, had two steals and didn't commit a turnover.
``My teammates were playing great, and then in fourth quarter I felt like it was my moment to be aggressive,' Parker said. ``I got a couple of steals and made some plays for us to win the game.'
LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 29 points. Raymond Felton had 13, and Wes Matthews and Gerald Wallace each had 12.
The Blazers played most of the game without starting center Marcus Camby, the team's leading rebounder. Camby went down with a sprained left ankle with 4:22 to play in the second quarter. After going up for a shot over Blair, Camby immediately went down and grabbed his ankle. Following a timeout, he was helped off the floor and didn't return.
He said after the game that he won't be available for Saturday night's game against Houston, but hopes to return at some point on the road trip. Portland will play its next eight games on the road.
``It's tough, a tough loss,' Aldridge said. ``We had control both halves. We just let it slip away. It wasn't even their starters tonight. It was their second unit tonight. They put pressure on us. They crashed the boards tonight. They had more energy tonight. We can't have these nights, when we have back-to-backs. I think we had control. We just didn't stay solid.'
Leading the way for the Spurs' bench, which outscored Portland's 45-17, was Splitter, who scored nine of the team's 15 points in a rocky third quarter.
``We did a pretty good job, coming from the bench, all the guys playing hard, hard defense,' Splitter said. ``Gary (Neal) had to play the point guard. We brought the energy and did a good job.'
For Parker, it was reminiscent of performances he's seen from Splitter in the past.
``He reminded me of me of when he was in the Euroleague,' Parker said, ``demanding the ball and making strong moves and if he's going to make his free throws then he is definitely going to be a force inside.'
It was inside, in fact, that the Spurs won the game, outrebounding Portland 50-36.
``They don't have any monsters in the paint,' Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. ``Tim (Duncan) is good and Blair does a good job, but that's not a lot of length. Rebounding is about work, and we know we need to be a better rebounding team, so everybody has to play a part in that. I thought there were some times when we were assuming a teammate was going to get the board.'
Notes: Spurs rookie F Malcolm Thomas, a teammate of Leonard's at San Diego State, played his first NBA game. He went scoreless in two minutes. ... Duncan scored seven points on 3-of-7 shooting. He has 22,805 career points, eight behind Gary Payton for 26th on the NBA career list. ... The Blazers haven't allowed the Spurs to reach 100 points in 12 games. The last time San Antonio reached the mark was Dec. 2, 2007. ... Neal had a large bandage on the top of his head after having to get staples to close a gash. He was hurt when he bumped his head on a medicine cabinet at his house.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved