SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The Spurs are glad to have Tony Parker back, especially LaMarcus Aldridge.
Aldridge set his San Antonio high with 41 points and the Spurs spoiled J.B. Bickerstaff's debut as Memphis coach, beating the Grizzlies 104-95 on Wednesday night to hand them their ninth straight loss.
Aldridge established a season best for the second consecutive game, topping his 33-point outing Monday against Dallas. It's not a coincidence that the 6-foot-11 forward has enjoyed two big games in a row since Parker returned.
"He's a big-time pick-and-roll player, and that's what I love to do," Aldridge said. "I think he benefits from having me out there and vice versa. He got me going early, found me two or three easy ones and after that I was good to go."
Aldridge scored 17 of San Antonio's first 19 points, going 6 for 7 from the field and 3 of 3 on 3-pointers. He finished 17 for 24 from the floor while falling three points shy of the career high he set with Portland.
"LaMarcus was just hot. He had a great game," said Memphis' Tyreke Evans, who scored a team-high 22 points.
Parker had 10 points and five assists while playing 18 minutes in his second game back since undergoing surgery to repair a torn left quadriceps tendon.
The Spurs took their largest lead at 66-51 three minutes into the third quarter after Parker set up Aldridge for 19- and 20-foot jumpers.
"Tony's very knowledgeable," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "His IQ in the pick-and-roll is off the charts. He makes us a better team with pick-and-roll. It helps players and helps the bigs because they know where the ball is coming from and Tony knows how to deliver it."
San Antonio, which became the first NBA team with 10 home wins this season, has won three straight overall.
The Grizzlies continued to play short-handed in their first game since coach David Fizdale was fired. Memphis was without Mike Conley, Chandler Parsons, Mario Chalmers and Brandan Wright.
The Grizzlies have not won since beating Portland on Nov. 7, but they found some hope against the Spurs after a lackluster effort in a 98-88 loss Sunday against Brooklyn in their final game under Fizdale.
"I think (it was) something we can build on," Memphis veteran Marc Gasol said. "Some of the mistakes that were made, now you can coach them. I thought in the previous games, a lot of the mistakes we were making were hard to coach. It's a lot of indecisive doubt among guys and when guys have doubt, it seems like they're not giving the effort. But tonight everybody was on the same page."
Gasol finished with 10 points on 4-for-11 shooting.