SAN ANTONIO – For the first time this season, Tony Parker was in uniform and starting after spending the last seven months rehabbing a torn quad he suffered during the Western Conference semifinals last year.
He provided a spark early and got the Spurs under control to start the second half as they were able to pull out a win over their I-35 rival Dallas Mavericks, 115-108.
It was a moment Parker, his teammates and the fans had been waiting for.
"Hard to describe my feelings but I was just very excited, just want to thank everybody for all the support. The city of San Antonio has been amazing, all the fans and the Spurs organization," Parker said.
Parker finished 3 of 7 for six points and four assists. He was also on a time limit and finished playing just over 14 minutes.
He said he was a little nervous at the start, but it didn't take him long to settle in, especially after hitting his first shot, a Parker-patented up and under.
#Spurs Tony Parker talks first game back, says 'there was a lot of emotion' and he's 'always amazed at the love from Spurs fans.' Talked about Dirk, refs also showing him love, says he'll play around 15 mins a game next couple of games, credits team for win #KSATnews #KSATsports pic.twitter.com/BjOfokk5Wd— RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) November 28, 2017
"I just felt great out there," Parker said. "Felt like I had my energy and tried to do what I do best and try to help the team. I'm happy we won, a little worried in the first half but it was a great comeback."
"Just having him back, I think it was huge for the team. Seeing him play with confidence right off the bat, it was great to see," said Pau Gasol.
Parker said the Spurs will keep his minutes to around 15 over the next several games.
Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich didn't get to see all of Parker's return since he was ejected in the second quarter.
Popovich was upset with the officials after they missed an out of bounds call on the Mavs. He got two quick technical fouls and headed for the locker room.
The Spurs opened up a lead in the first quarter, then the Mavs went on a 21-4 over the end of the first and beginning of the second quarter.
San Antonio finally took the lead back in the third quarter. It was pretty tight from there until the Spurs put it away with a Pau Gasol three-pointer and a foul for a four-point play to put the Spurs up 104-97.
Gasol had a season-high 25 points. The two big men dominated, combining for 58 points. LaMarcus Aldridge had a season-high 33 points.
"Trying to make sure we take advantage of our size, I thought Pau played good down low," Aldridge said.
The Spurs finished with six players in double figures. Kyle Anderson had another double-double, 12 points and 10 rebounds.