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Parker scores 26 in return from injury, Spurs beat Clippers 125-118

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SAN ANTONIO — Tony Parker scored 26 points in his return from a five-game absence, igniting the San Antonio Spurs to a season-high 37 assists and a 125-118 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night.

San Antonio shot a season-high 64 percent from the field in snapping a four-game skid.

Tim Duncan had 21 points and 12 rebounds, Boris Diaw scored 23 points and Manu Ginobili had 19 points and 10 assists for the Spurs (18-11), who had lost three straight home games in overtime.

Chris Paul had 25 points and nine assists, Blake Griffin added 22 points and J.J. Redick had 21 for the Clippers (19-9), who have lost four straight to San Antonio.

Parker showed no lingering effects from a strained left hamstring that kept him out of eight of the past nine games.

He collected a steal on San Antonio's opening defensive possession and made his initial jumper and first two free throws. He also took Danny Green aside in the opening minute, pointing to the right corner of the court in an apparent demand for the proper spacing when the point guard drove the lane.

Parker's ability to penetrate reinvigorated the Spurs' ball movement, providing the "good-to-great" mantra that coach Gregg Popovich preached last season. San Antonio had a season-high 72 points in the first half, shooting 75 percent while handing out 20 assists on its 30 baskets.

Diaw attempted to take over in the second half with Parker and Manu Ginobili slowed in the second half. He had five points in the third quarter, including a stuttering left-handed scoop as he sailed past the basket for an 85-74 lead with 5:44 left in the third quarter.

PHOTO: San Antonio Spurs forward Tiago Splitter, left, of Brazil, pokes the ball away from Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul as Clippers' Blake Griffin, right, and Spurs' Cory Joseph look on, during the first half an NBA basketball game, Monday, Dec. 22, 2014, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)
San Antonio Spurs forward Tiago Splitter, left, of Brazil, pokes the ball away from Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul as Clippers' Blake Griffin, right, and Spurs' Cory Joseph look on, during the first half an NBA basketball game, Monday, Dec. 22, 2014, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

The Clippers continued to hang around, going on a 9-0 run late in the third quarter, capped by Paul's 3-pointer, to pull within 87-83 with 3 minutes remaining.

Jamal Crawford's jumper tied the game at 102 with 8:17 remaining, the first tie since the opening minute of the second quarter.

The Spurs hit three 3-pointers after that point, including Ginobili flipping a left-handed pass behind his head to Green for a 115-106 lead with 4 minutes remaining.

TIP-INS

Clippers: Paul had nine assists, giving him 6,387 to surpass former Lakers guard Norm Nixon (6,381) for 24th in league history. . Redick, fourth in the NBA at 2.9 points in the opening 3 minutes of the game, had seven to open Monday's game. . Clippers F Spencer Hawes (left knee bruise) missed his sixth straight game.

Spurs: Duncan tied Lakers forward A.C. Green for 19th in career games played at 1,278. . They raised their season average to 24.2 per game. . San Antonio used its 17th different starting lineup this season. . The Spurs previous season high in assists was 31 in their triple-overtime loss to Memphis on Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Clippers: Visit Atlanta on Tuesday.

Spurs: Host Oklahoma City on Thursday.

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