With the Rodeo Road Trip looming, Tony Parker made sure that the San Antonio Spurs will hit the road with full of confidence and hope.
Playing against one of the NBA’s top teams in the Oklahoma City Thunder, Parker put together his most dazzling game of the season, he scored 42 points and became the all-time franchise assists leader for San Antonio in a 107-96 win over the Thunder on Saturday night.
His nine assists moved him past Avery Johnson in Spurs history. Parker, who spent all his 11 years in the NBA in San Antonio, now has 4,477 career assists.
Kevin Durant had 22 points and 11 rebounds for Oklahoma City (18-5), which was headed for its first blowout loss of the season before closing a 24-point deficit in the fourth.
James Harden had 19 points off the bench for the Thunder. Russell Westbrook had 18 points and six assists.
The convincing win over the NBA’s winningest team was just the springboard San Antonio needed before spending the next three weeks on the road where the Spurs have hardly been as dominant.
The Thunder have jumped ahead of the rest of the NBA, in part, by being the best road team. But this time they ran straight into the NBA’s best home team, which was never clearer than in the third quarter when the Spurs tripled an 8-point lead in a span of 8½ minutes.
“Coming off pick and rolls, (Parker) was getting to the rim,” Durant said. “He is so quick and he was beating our bigs to the lane sometimes. It’s tough for our bigs to guard someone as fast as Tony.”
Parker scored 16 points in the third, going 6-of-9 from the floor and sinking all four of his foul shots and with 2:28 left in the third quarter, he surpassed the franchise assists record that Johnson had held since 2001.
The record dish fittingly came on a pick-and-roll with Tim Duncan, his longtime co-pilot in San Antonio’s last three championships and up against the NBA’s top team, the duo looked as though they didn’t even miss Manu Ginobili, who’s missed the past month with a broken hand.
Parker shot 16-of-29 from the floor, made 10-of-12 free throws and upped his scoring average to 18 points per game.
Duncan had a double-double 13 points and 15 rebounds, while rookie Kawhi Leonard, got back into the starting lineup added 15 points and hit all three of his 3-pointers while guarding Durant.
The Spurs improved to an NBA best 13-1 at home and tighten their grip on the Southwest division with a 16-9 win-loss record.
They also extended their winning streak to four games which is their longest this season.
However, they will now play their next nine away from the AT&T Center as part of their annual Rodeo Road Trip where they are currently 3-8.
San Antonio will begin their road trip tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies.