Parker puts up 55 as Spurs have to work overtime to get first winNov 6, 2008 - 6:48 AM By James Beilby PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Tony Parker prevented the San Antonio Spurs from dropping to 0-4 by scoring a career-high 55 points en route to a 129-125 double-overtime victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.
San Antonio had not gone without a win in its first four games of the season since 1973-1974 when it played in the ABA. Parker refused to let the Spurs lose, recording the most points scored against Minnesota, eclipsing Shaquille O'Neal's 53 from April 20, 1994.
"I'd scored 40 in Europe and the NBA, but never 50 (points) at any kind of level," Parker said. "In high school, I think I had 45 or 46, but never 50."
The Timberwolves appeared as if they would take the contest in the first overtime, pulling ahead 116-114 after Al Jefferson hit a jump hook with 2.5 seconds left. However, Parker beat the buzzer at the other end, taking the inbounds pass near the right corner and stepping back to hit a jumper over the outstretched arm of Corey Brewer.
Parker also started strongly in the second extra session, hitting a pair of runners in the opening 64 seconds to give San Antonio a 120-116 advantage.
"It was one of those games that everything you do works: tear drops, jump shots, whatever," Parker said. "Obviously, everybody knows that if I hit my jump shots, I can do whatever I want. I worked very hard on my outside shot this summer."
Jefferson came back with consecutive baskets to knot the contest before Roger Mason hit a jumper and Parker added a shot in the lane to give the Spurs the lead for good.
Mason proved to be a big contributor off the bench, finishing with 26 points - 17 after halftime.
"The thing that killed us was Roger Mason," Minnesota coach Randy Wittman said. "You know Tim Duncan and Parker are going to get theirs, but when you let Parker shoot 36 times, you can't let Mason come in and get 26 points."
The Timberwolves did close within 126-125 when Randy Foye hit a 3-pointer from the right corner with 35 seconds left, but Mason was able to grab two offensive rebounds to extend the Spurs' next possession before Parker sank two free throws for a 128-125 edge with 19 seconds to play.
"We got two monster offensive rebounds," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "It's happened to all of us, losing games because you gave up offensive rebounds."
Parker finished 22-of-36 from the field with two 3-pointers and converted 9-of-10 free throws en route to also breaking the record for most points scored by an opponent at the Target Center.
"Tony Parker was aggressive through the whole game," Popovich said. "He was magnificent. He pulled us through, that's for sure."
"That's as many jump shots as I have seen Tony Parker make in a game," Wittman said. "That's what you have got to try and make him do. The thing we wanted to do was keep him out of the paint."
The Frenchman also handed out 10 assists en route to becoming just the third player along with Oscar Robertson and Michael Jordan to record at least 55 and reach double digits in assists in the same game.
"My mindset entering the game was I just wanted to win," Parker said. "I couldn't believe we were 0-3 and Dallas just came in and kicked our butt (last night).
"They were hitting every shot after playing so bad against Cleveland, so they came into San Antonio and shot the ball very well. So I said we have to do the same thing and come into Minnesota and play well and be aggressive. That was my mindset, that I just wanted to win so bad that I was going to do everything I can."
Parker's big effort was especially important to the Spurs, who are without top sixth man Manu Ginobili until December due to ankle surgery.
Duncan had 30 points and 16 rebounds for San Antonio, which beat Minnesota for the sixth straight time.
Jefferson notched his fourth double-double of the season, scoring 30 points and grabbing 14 boards. Mike Miller contributed 25, but only had two points after regulation.
Minnesota led by as many as nine points in the second half, grabbing a 57-48 advantage on a fadeaway jumper by Jefferson with 8:36 left in the third quarter.
Yet, the Timberwolves had no answer for Parker, who scored 18 points between the third and fourth quarters.
"They made plays at the end, we made plays at the end, but they prevailed," said Minnesota forward Ryan Gomes, who scored seven. "Parker had a great night. He made a lot of shots with a hand in his face. And Duncan made some tough shots there at the end. So hats off to them."
Rookie Kevin Love completed a tough basket inside to give Minnesota a 105-104 edge with 17 seconds left in regulation. Parker looked to answer on the other end, tossing up a runner that failed to hit the rim, and Jefferson was fouled collecting the rebound.
However, Jefferson could only make one of two free throws, and Duncan knotted the score at 106-106 with a bank shot with 2.7 seconds left. After Foye threw away the inbounds pass, Parker had a 3-point attempt hit off the back of the rim as regulation ended.
In the first overtime, the Timberwolves started strong, as Miller and Brewer both hit a jumper and Jefferson blocked a shot by Duncan, sending the two-time MVP to the floor.
Yet, the Spurs did not go away, as Parker had a driving layup, Mason made two free throws and Duncan hit a turnaround jumper for a 112-110 lead with 51 seconds to play.
Jefferson retied the score eight seconds later with a pair of free throws and, following a missed hook shot by Duncan, Brewer sank two from the stripe to make it 114-112 with 15 seconds remaining.
Duncan was then fouled before he could get a shot off in the lane and made both free throws with 7.4 ticks left.
Overall, both teams excelled at the stripe, converting 23-of-28 attempts each.
NBA SAN ANTONIO 129
MINNESOTA 125 FINAL IN 2ND OT
Nov 5 11:19 PM
NBA SAN ANTONIO 116
MINNESOTA 116 End 1ST OT, GOING INTO 2ND OT
Nov 5 11:19 PM
SAN ANTONIO 129
MINNESOTA 125 FINAL IN 1ST OT
Nov 5 11:16 PM
SAN ANTONIO 116
MINNESOTA 116 End 1ST OT, GOING INTO 2ND OT
Nov 5 10:56 PM
SAN ANTONIO 106
MINNESOTA 106 END OF 4TH QTR GOING INTO OVERTIME
Nov 5 10:33 PM
SAN ANTONIO 74
MINNESOTA 71 END, 3RD QTR
Nov 5 9:47 PM
SAN ANTONIO 45
MINNESOTA 49 HALFTIME
Nov 5 9:04 PM
SAN ANTONIO 18
MINNESOTA 18 END, 1ST QTR
Nov 5 8:35 PM
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