Robinson says Parker needs to choose his moments betterPosted: Thursday June 12, 2003 2:11 AM
Updated: Thursday June 12, 2003 2:11 AM
It wasn't the fact that the 21-year-old point guard missed 11 shots in San Antonio's 77-76 loss to the New Jersey Nets in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night.
It was the kind of shots Parker took that irked the Admiral.
"Tony has to do a better job of staying involved in the game and picking and choosing his moments," Robinson said. "I don't think Tony did a very good job of that.
"He's got to understand he plays a big role for us, so he has to come in there and make good things happen. You don't make good things happen by necessarily standing out there and taking ill-advised jump shots."
Parker scored just three points on 1-of-12 shooting. His only worse game this postseason was a scoreless 0-for-5 against Dallas, but he played only 13 minutes because of an upset stomach.
Before that, you have to go all the way back to the season opener, when he had two points while shooting 0-for-10 against the Lakers.
Difference was, the Spurs won both those other games. This loss left them tied with the Nets at two games each. The fifth game is Friday night, but the champion won't be decided until Sunday night or Wednesday night in San Antonio.
Parker wasn't the only Spur whose aim was off.
Stephen Jackson went 1-for-9 (five points), Bruce Bowen went 2-for-9 (five points) and Malik Rose went 0-for-9 (0 points). Manu Ginobili was 3-of-10, missing a 3-pointer in the closing seconds that could've forced overtime. Tim Duncan put back the miss, but it was only for two points.
Overall, San Antonio made 28.9 percent of its shots, third-lowest in NBA Finals history.
"The ball just didn't want to go tonight," Parker said. "It's pretty hard to win a ballgame when you shoot like that."
Duncan and David Robinson were the only consistent scorers, but they fought foul trouble.
Despite it all, San Antonio still was in position to win.
Backup point guard Speedy Claxton helped turn a 15-point deficit into a five-point lead early in the fourth quarter. The Spurs didn't fall behind for good until Kenyon Martin made two free throws with 1:12 left.
"We could've had the game, we should've had the game," Willis said. "Coming back from a 15-point deficit took a lot of energy and effort. We played well in that stretch, but that stretch needed to be played earlier in the game."
Parker, who averaged 21 points in the first three games, was 1-of-5 in the first quarter. While he searched for his rhythm, the Nets came up with a new way to contain him.
Jason Kidd, who had been guarding Parker, turned to Kerry Kittles and said, "You take him."
"Chasing Tony around wears on you, offensively and defensively," Kidd said. "So we made a little adjustment to give me a chance to play off the ball. Kerry was the reason for him taking some tough shots."
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich countered by turning to Claxton for 17 minutes. He had 10 points, three rebounds and two assists, but was on the bench down the stretch.
"We agonized whether we should go with (Claxton) or come back with Tony Parker, who has been so good for us in so many games," Popovich said. "We just decided he's our starting point guard who makes big shots and we're going to stick with him through the series. We wanted to show that confidence in him."