Tony Parker returned from a cut above the same eye he injured in a nightclub incident last summer and scored 23 points to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 113-107 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night.
Parker missed about a quarter in the first half when he took three stitches above his left eye after a collision with Elton Brand on a drive. He nearly lost the eye in June when shards of glass embedded in his cornea after he got caught in a bottle-throwing melee in New York.
Tim Duncan stayed home with a sore right knee, but DeJuan Blair made up for his absence by scoring a season-high 22 points.
Connecting you to your favorite North Texas sports teams as well as sports news around the globe.
Rodrigue Beaubois led the Mavericks with a season-high 19 points.
Dallas cut a 15-point deficit to four in the final minute with mostly reserves on the floor, but Nando De Colo hit two free throws with 2.2 seconds left to end the threat.
Parker's head collided with Brand's arm on a drive early in the first quarter, and no foul was called. Parker stayed down alone under the basket covering his left eye for about 20 seconds during a Dallas possession on the other end. Once play stopped, Parker had to be separated from the referees as he was led to the bench.
When he returned early in the second quarter, Parker hit three straight shots and finished the half with 10 points.
The Spurs took control with a 21-6 run in the third quarter, capped when a pass from driving Dallas point guard Darren Collison went through O.J. Mayo's legs. The turnover led to a San Antonio fast break that ended with Boris Diaw throwing a behind-the-back pass to Tiago Splitter for a layup and a 74-49 San Antonio lead.
The Mavericks was within 10 early in the fourth when Parker hit consecutive layups for a 105-90 lead after a strange sequence that resulted in a technical foul against Dallas coach Rick Carlisle even though officials reversed the call that caused him to complain.
Vince Carter tipped in a miss, but Courtney Kirkland called goaltending. Carlisle argued and was given the technical, and the Spurs still got the free throw even after Carter was awarded the basket when Kirkland consulted with the crew. The Dallas lead was briefly 10 before Gary Neal hit the free throw and Parker drove for the back-to-back layups.
San Antonio played most of the game without Manu Ginobili as well. He didn't play in the second half and finished scoreless on 0-for-2 shooting.
The Spurs still finished with seven players in double figures. Neal had 18.
The Spurs sure didn't miss Duncan in the first half. Blair, who usually gets more playing time when Duncan sits, led everyone with 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting in the first half.
Blair repeatedly got uncontested shots at the rim off pick-and-rolls and hit a couple of nifty running bank shots, including one when Neal jumped and couldn't find anywhere to throw the ball before sliding a bounce pass to Blair just before coming back down.
Dallas shot just 37 percent in the first half and was led by Beaubois with seven points. Dirk Nowitzki, who debuted a month ago in a 38-point loss at San Antonio after a 27-game absence following right knee surgery, and Mayo got just seven shots before halftime and had six points combined.
Nowitzki finished with 15, and Mayo had 14. Vince Carter scored 17 for Dallas.
NOTES: Spurs coach Gregg Popovich missed his second straight game because of illness. Mike Budenholzer led Wednesday's 106-102 victory against New Orleans. ... The Spurs got in the first quarter behind eight points apiece from Neal, Diaw and Blair. Neal had a four-point play when Collison knocked him over just as he released a 3-pointer from the right wing.