SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich can rest easy. The screaming criticism and back-slapping encouragement he doles out echo with the Spurs even when he's quietly resting at home.
Tony Parker had 27 points and San Antonio held on to beat the Sacramento Kings 112-104 on Friday night — the second straight victory without its veteran head coach.
Popovich missed his second game following a recent undisclosed minor medical procedure. His status is unknown for the team's upcoming four-game road trip, which begins Sunday in Boston, but he did visit with the team Friday morning.
"The fact that he was here this morning speaks for very, very good development of everything," San Antonio assistant Ettore Messina said. "I didn't talk to him about it, but I would assume it's moving in the right direction. I don't think he likes staying home and watching it on TV."
Perhaps not, but he had to find some comfort in how the team performed.
Messina helped San Antonio win its sixth straight victory and nine of 10 games after a 2-3 start.
While acknowledging the soft-spoken Messina and fiery Popovich have different coaching styles, Parker said they both demand smart play.
"We're still going to run our stuff," Parker said. "It's just a different voice. But I think in the locker room, we have a lot of respect for Messina. The European players, we all know what he did and what he accomplished. He's definitely big time."
San Antonio shot 51.2 percent from the field, a season high this season against Sacramento along with the 112 points. The Spurs also shot 12 for 24 on 3-pointers and dished out 29 assists on 42 baskets.
Kawhi Leonard scored 19 points, Tim Duncan had 18 points and Danny Green had 11 points for San Antonio (11-4).
"We weren't in a position where we needed to be most of the time as far as our rotation," Kings point guard Darren Collison said. "You can't do that against a team like the San Antonio Spurs. We weren't good last game against Houston and this game against San Antonio we were worse than we were last game."
The Kings were without leading scorer and rebounder DeMarcus Cousins, who woke up "feeling sick," according to Sacramento coach Michael Malone.
Collison and Rudy Gay returned to the lineup for the Kings after both missed the previous two games with injuries.
"The fact that both of those guys played I think is great," Malone said. "They both are not 100 percent, but when seeing DeMarcus out, they wanted to step up and try to help their teammates. Give them both a lot of credit for trying to gut it out."
Gay had 23 points, Collison and Ryan Hollins added 15 points each and Ben McLemore scored 14 for Sacramento (9-7).
Collison struggled staying in front of Parker, especially in the opening period. The veteran point guard had 11 points on 5-for-6 shooting in the first quarter and made his only 3-point attempt of the game.
San Antonio did allow Sacramento to shoot 50.7 percent from the field, but it was offset by a rhythmic offense that kept the Kings off balance.
"Today we were a little different than the games before," Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said. "We were talking how reliable we were defensively lately and that our offense was not quite there. Today was the opposite. We shot well. We are shooting probably 30-something and today we shot 50 (percent) from 3s. (We) moved the ball very well, got a lot of assists. Today, offensively we looked much better."
Kings: Sacramento plays 10 of its next 11 games at home after completing their road trip Friday at 2-2. . The Kings are 8-0 when outshooting an opponent, and led in field goal percentage until about midway through the third quarter Friday.
Spurs: Duncan has four 20-point, 20-rebound games in his career against Sacramento -- the most he has had against any NBA team. ... Duncan has played in 1,268 games, two shy of tying Boston Celtics legend John Havlicek for third with the most games played with a single team. Utah's John Stockton (1,504) and Indiana's Reggie Miller (1,389) top the career list.
Kings: Host Memphis on Sunday.
Spurs: At Boston on Sunday.
Parker made his only 3-point attempt, setting a league record for the best start from long range after 15 games.
The veteran point guard from France is shooting 66.6 percent on 16-for-24 shooting. Steve Smith shot 66.0 (31 for 47) in 2002 with the Spurs and Luke Walton 64.0 (16 for 25) in 2007 with the Lakers.
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