Parker nets 26 in return to France; Spurs win exhibition

VILLEURBANNE, France -- French star Tony Parker scored 26
points to help the San Antonio Spurs rout the French club Asvel
Villeurbanne 115-90 in an exhibition game Thursday night.

Parker, unable to play for France in the recent world
championships because of a broken finger, received a warm reception
from the home fans.

"I really wanted to do well, because I could not play for
France at the world championships," Parker said. "The reception I
got from the fans here warmed my heart.

"It was good, although it felt a bit strange to play against a
French team in the Spurs jersey. I wanted to play well because I am
in France.

On Sunday, the Spurs will play Maccabi Tel Aviv in Paris.

"It will be harder against Maccabi, but we have a match in our
legs and we will be ready," Parker said. "I am in France. My
family and friends are here. We had a wonderful five days in

Tim Duncan added 19 points and Brent Barry had 12 for the Spurs.

"The team is still coming together, but we moved the ball
around nicely," Parker said.

Parker was 10-for-13 from the field against Villeurbanne, a
French Pro A league team. Parker sat most of the second galf but,
after pleading with coach Gregg Popovich, returned for the final
minute of the game to loud applause.

"I didn't want to bring on Tony Parker at the end," Popovich
said. "I finally did, because we are in France and you have to
please the fans."

Rowan Barrett led home team with 22 points and Brian Green had

The Spurs are one of four NBA teams spending a portion of its
preseason overseas as part of the NBA Europe Live tour. The
Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns also are
taking part.

The Spurs have been camped at nearby Lyon, famed as one of the
food capitals of the world.

"Very honestly, it's been terrific," Popovich said. "The
food, the wine, the camaraderie. It's been fantastic."