SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Richard Jefferson scored 18 points, Manu Ginobili had 16 and the surging San Antonio Spurs beat the Sacramento Kings 95-86 on Tuesday night for their fourth straight victory.
The Spurs got point guard Tony Parker back and moved into a sixth-place tie with Oklahoma City in the Western Conference playoff race. San Antonio has won 16 of 21 and has five games remaining, including trips to Phoenix, Denver and Dallas.
Making his first NBA start, Garrett Temple had 15 points for the Spurs. DeJuan Blair scored 13, Antonio McDyess had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Tim Duncan added 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Tyreke Evans had 22 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Kings, who have lost eight straight and 10 of 11. Carl Landry scored 20 points and Dante Greene had 12.
Ginobili's 3-pointer with 5:15 remaining broke a 79-all tie and began a stretch of 12 unanswered points by the Spurs. Another 3 by Ginobili several minutes later put San Antonio ahead 89-79.
The Spurs have showed they can beat the NBA's best. In a recent 10-day stretch, they defeated division leaders Cleveland, the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston and Orlando.
It was a rare off night for Ginobili, who had 73 points in the two previous games, wins over the Lakers and Magic. But the feisty San Antonio veteran scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, when the Kings were outscored 24-19.
Parker, a crucial ingredient to the Spurs' four NBA championships, missed the past month with a broken right hand. In his absence, George Hill moved over to point guard and helped the Spurs compile an 11-5 record while averaging 16.1 points a game.
Parker's return nearly coincided with Hill's sprained right ankle in Sunday's win over the Lakers. Hill didn't play against the Kings and is expected to miss Wednesday's game at Phoenix.
Following a two-point first half, Duncan scored eight in the third to help the Spurs take a 71-67 lead into the fourth quarter.
NOTES: Kings starting center Spencer Hawes has a bruised left knee and will miss the rest of the season. ... Parker has sat out 26 games this season, while Hill missed his first game to injury during his two-year career. Duncan picked up a third-quarter technical foul, then shared a quick laugh with Beno Udrih, his former teammate, who made the subsequent technical and two other free throws in succession.