The All-Star point guard looks to continue his outstanding play Friday night when the Spurs visit the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Parker, the 2007 NBA Finals MVP, leads the Spurs (13-3) with 20.5 points per game and 6.9 assists after topping the team last season with averages of 18.6 and 5.5, respectively. His terrific start has helped San Antonio to the top of the Western Conference.
“I have always been the smallest guy out there,” the 6-foot-2 Parker said. “I had to watch guys like (Michael) Jordan and how they got shots up and just tried to do that. Sometimes when you dream it up it just happens. I have to just do it instinctively.”
Parker shot 12-for-18 from the field Wednesday, scoring 20 of his 29 points in the second half while adding a season-high 11 assists in a 109-94 victory over Washington.
“He’s getting better and better at reading the situation and seeing what’s given,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “He did a great job scoring, but he also found people. He hit open people for great shots and that’s what a point guard does.”
Parker has been at his best lately, averaging 24.5 points and 8.5 assists in the last six games while San Antonio has gone 5-1.
“Tony in these last few games has been amazing,” said Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili, who is second on the team with 19.2 points per game. “The way he has been breaking down defenses and finding their weaknesses. After last year, and what he showed he can do we got used to it and now he is showing us that we can expect that out of him.”
Parker, though, has struggled shooting the ball in the Spurs’ three losses this season - all on the road. He has made only 39 percent of his shots from the field for 13.3 points per game with 6.7 assists in those contests, including a 12-point, seven-assist performance in a 112-99 defeat at Sacramento on Monday.
The Spurs, who are 4-3 on the road, have won six of the last seven meetings with the Timberwolves (2-11), including two of three last season. The lone loss came at the Target Center, 103-101 in overtime on Jan. 3.
The Timberwolves have only won once in their last 15 home games dating back to last season. They have been outscored by an average of 11.3 points in that span.
Minnesota is coming off a 109-103 loss at Dallas on Wednesday, during which it trailed by as many as 20 points in the second half and coach Randy Wittman saw the near-comeback as a moral victory.
“That’s what these guys do. I’m proud of them - they respond and they fight,” Wittman said. “I thought in the half court our defense was really good.”
Al Jefferson had a season-high 31 points and 14 rebounds, and has emerged as the Timberwolves’ top performer with 20.7 points and 11.2 rebounds per game - both team highs.
Jefferson, whom Minnesota acquired in a blockbuster offseason trade from Boston for Kevin Garnett, has totaled 46 points and 26 rebounds in his last two games against San Antonio.