- The Washington Times - Friday, April 10, 2009

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Tony Parker scored 31 points and the San Antonio Spurs shook off their funk long enough to bury the Utah Jazz further back in the playoff race with a 105-99 victory Friday night.

Tim Duncan scored 14 points in an effort more typical for the sore All-Star, who is “playing on one leg,” according toParker. But it was enough to help San Antonio win for just the third time in seven games.

The Jazz, meanwhile, have lost five of six and slipped closer to having to face the dominant Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. Utah has just three games left to climb out of the No. 8 seed and secure a more favorable matchup.

Deron Williams had 25 points and 10 assists for the Jazz, whose misery in San Antonio continues. The Jazz haven’t won here since 1999, a streak spanning 23 games.

Roger Mason scored 16 points for the Spurs, who are trying to climb back into position for home-court advantage in the first round. They’ll finish the season at Sacramento and Golden State before a home finale against New Orleans.

The Spurs are locked in a back-and-forth race with Houston for the Southwest Division. San Antonio had sat atop the division for much of the season before weathering a rocky stretch, going 12-10 since March and losing Manu Ginobili this week to a season-ending ankle injury.

Duncan played 32 minutes as the Spurs watch their star closely. Bothered by sore knees since the All-Star break, Duncan was 5-of-11 from the field and grabbed nine rebounds.

He was coming off a season-low four points in a loss Wednesday against Portland, in which the Spurs blew a 19-point lead. After that game, Parker said many don’t realize that Duncan has been “playing on one leg for like a month and a half.”

Mehmet Okur had 22 points and 10 rebounds for Utah. The Jazz go home to play Golden State and the Los Angeles Clippers before their regular-season finale Tuesday at the Lakers.

The Jazz trailed by as much as eight in the fourth quarter before closing the gap to 84-81 with 7:04 left. The Spurs answered with an 7-2 run, including a key 19-footer by Duncan that stretched the lead back to seven late.

Parker, who scored 11 in the fourth, was 9-of-15 from the floor and 13-of-17 from the foul line. Drew Gooden scored 14 and Ime Udoka had 13 off the bench for the Spurs.

Ronnie Brewer scored 17 and Carlos Boozer had 15 for the Jazz. Andrei Kirilenko was the only scorer not in double-figures for Utah, scoring four points on just 1-of-9 shooting.

Notes: Jazz coach Jerry Sloan stayed at the hotel during Friday morning’s shootaround because of a stomach illness. Some food he ate in Dallas earlier this week was a possible culprit. … G C.J. Miles was at the Jazz shootaround but sat out his third straight game with a dislocated finger.

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