Parker scores 42 to lead Spurs past Hawks<br/>

Published: Mar 26, 2009, 11:38 IST | AFP

Tony Parker impresses as San Antonio Spurs beat Atlanta Hawks 102-92

Tony Parker poured in 42 points to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 102-92 victory over Atlanta Wednesday, but the Hawks still clinched a National Basketball Association playoff berth.

Parker posted his second-best total of the season, behind his career-high 55 against Minnesota on November 5.

"This is a big win for us after two tough losses to Boston and Houston," said Parker, whose Spurs are fighting with Houston for the second seed in the Western Conference.

"Atlanta has been playing very, very well," Parker said. "They've beaten a lot of good teams here. That's a very big win for us, especially on the road, and it helps us in the Western Conference race."

With All-Star Tim Duncan on the sidelines, Parker took over for the Spurs. He added 10 assists to his 42 points as Atlanta's attempts to slow him failed.

Despite the French player's heroics, the score was tied at the start of the fourth, after Atlanta rallied from an 11-point deficit.

The Hawks went scoreless for more than four minutes, while Parker kept up his torrid pace.

Parker's two free throws with 5:13 to play gave the Spurs an 88-81 lead, and the Hawks couldn't get any closer.

"We tried doubling him some, but he kept beating the double-teams," said Hawks coach Mike Woodson. "He had a great game tonight, and you can't take anything away from Parker and the Spurs."

The Hawks, who fell to 42-30, remained in fourth in the Eastern Conference. They were led by Joe Johnson, who had 30 points.

Atlanta secured a playoff berth as Milwaukee, Charlotte and New Jersey all lost on Wednesday.

"Now at least we know we're in, which is nice," Hawks center Al Horford said. "So we can just look ahead and keep trying to get better."

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