Prior to Tuesday night's Game 2 between the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies, only Rajon Rondo had racked up at least 18 assists in a playoff game since 2007. Tony Parker changed that, handing out a career-high 18 dimes in a 93-89 overtime victory.
Parker's performance was truly Rondo-esque, as the Spurs' point guard struggled to a 6-of-20 shooting night. In the four playoff games that Rondo has managed at least 18 assists, he shot just 35.6 percent from the field. Of course, that should not take away from their brilliance setting up teammates.
The 18 assists for Parker are tied for second-most in Spurs playoff history, two short of Johnny Moore's 20 in 1983. Avery Johnson dished out 18 assists in a 1996 playoff game against the Phoenix Suns.
After one quarter, it certainly did not look like Parker would be heading toward a career-night in terms of assists. The Spurs' point guard had two dimes in the quarter as both teams struggled offensively en route to a 15-13 score.
But then Parker woke up in the second, picking up six assists to help San Antonio open up a 15-point halftime lead. The wizardry continued in the third quarter, with Parker assisting on the Spurs' first eight made field goals of the quarter.
The fourth quarter was a different story, as the Spurs' offense went in the tank. After a Parker three with just over eight minutes put San Antonio up 83-70, San Antonio managed just two points the rest of the way. The Grizzlies closed the game on a 15-2 run, sending the game to overtime.
Parker admitted he was tired in the fourth, but he was able to step up in the overtime period, picking up his 17th and 18th assists on buckets by Tim Duncan. Those baskets helped seal the deal for the Spurs, who hold a commanding 2-0 lead in the series.
The series now heads to Memphis, and San Antonio hopes that they can avoid a repeat of last year's Western Conference Finals, where they lost four straight to the Oklahoma City Thunder after winning the first two. The Spurs will need Parker to continue his strong play to avoid another collapse.
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