Tony Parker, the San Antonio point guard and one of the Spurs' most consistent scorers, sat out the 109-101 overtime loss to the Detroit Pistons on Sunday because of a left hip injury - and his injury problems have his team worried. Parker has been in and out of the line-up over the last 10 games with a combination of foot, ankle and hip injuries. "He's got some problems," said Gregg Popovich, the Spurs' coach.
Parker is his team's second highest points scorer this season, averaging 16.8 per game and leads the Spurs in assists, with an average of 5.9. Tim Duncan had a game-high 28 points for San Antonio, who are seventh in the Western Conference, but Richard Hamilton (27 points) and Rodney Stuckey (20) led the Pistons to victory. The Eastern Conference-leading Cleveland Cavaliers stumbled to their third consecutive defeat, this time at the hands of their closest rivals, the second-placed Orlando Magic.
The Cavs had a 13-game winning streak before losing to the Denver Nuggets on Thursday. They then went down to the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday and followed that up with a 101-95 loss to the Magic at the Amway Arena. LeBron James contributed a game-high 33 points for the Cavaliers, but it was not enough as Dwight Howard's 22 points and 16 rebounds condemned the Cavs to their first three-game losing run for nearly two years.
The Denver Nuggets, second in the Western Conference, dented the Boston Celtics' fine away record with a 114-105 victory. The All-Star duo of Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony led the Nuggets with 26 and 23 points respectively. Ray Allen had 25 points for Boston but could not prevent his side from slipping to a first away defeat in four games. The Utah Jazz extended their winning run to four games with a 92-89 overtime victory at the Portland Trail Blazers. Carlos Boozer had 22 points and a career-high 23 rebounds as the Jazz rallied from 25 points down in the third quarter.
* With agencies