SAN ANTONIO — Even if the San Antonio Spurs can’t help but feel a touch uneasy about their 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals, Tony Parker is completely comfortable.
For the second consecutive year, Parker used a sensational Game 2 to give the Spurs a two-game lead to start the conference finals. This time, it was a 15-point, 18-assist masterpiece that featured Parker scoring or assisting on 14 of the Spurs’ 18 baskets after halftime in Tuesday night’s 93-89 overtime win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Asked Wednesday if it was a performance reminiscent of John Stockton, the NBA’s career assists leader, Parker said: “No, Tony Parker.”
“I don’t want to be anybody. I just want to have my own identity,” he added. “I always fight with (coach Gregg Popovich) for that because he wanted me to be – no disrespect to Avery Johnson – but like Avery, and then like John. I was like, ‘I want to be me.’ I want to do both. I want to be aggressive, and I just try to find that balance.
“That’s the thing through my whole career is to find the happy middle between scoring and passing.”
Parker plans to have an MRI today on his troublesome left calf, although he doesn’t expect to miss any playing time.
He has already won three NBA titles with San Antonio and seemed to have the Spurs rolling toward another one last season when he scored 34 points on 16 for 21 shooting — and also dished out eight assists — in a 120-111 victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 2 of the West finals.
It was San Antonio’s 20th consecutive win, a streak spanning seven weeks. And then – poof! – the season was over a week later following four consecutive losses to Oklahoma City.
OLYMPIC COACH: Mike Krzyzewski had decided to remain coach of the U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team.
Krzyzewski will try to lead the Americans to a third consecutive gold medal, a person with knowledge of the decision said Wednesday.
The Hall of Fame coach has led the Americans since 2005, winning gold at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, and the 2010 world championship.