One needs it. The other earned it.
With Duncan sidelined for the second straight game with a leg injury, Parker scored 39 points in a dazzling encore to his 37 the previous night, and the Spurs continued Portland's misery in San Antonio with a 99-84 win over the Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.
Parker's 76 points in the past 48 hours pushed San Antonio's win streak to four with LeBron James and Cleveland coming to town Friday in the first meeting of the elite teams.
Whether the Spurs will have Duncan, who is listed as day to day with right quad tendonosis, is unknown. Definitely out will be Manu Ginobili, who is still recovering from an ankle injury.
In the meantime, Parker has almost single-handedly made sure San Antonio can manage.
"Tony Parker was a super stud again, and generated the offense again," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "His leadership on the floor was exceptional."
Channing Frye scored 15 for Portland, which lost in San Antonio for the 11th consecutive time in a streak that dates to 2002. The Trail Blazers also dropped their fifth straight road game, and have another in Minnesota on Friday before returning home.
The Blazers chased Parker all around Wednesday but didn't fare any better than Dallas the previous night. Parker's biggest dagger came with 2:41 remaining, when he shook free to drain a 21-footer that put the Spurs up by nine after Portland closed within four minutes earlier.
The jumper was Parker's third bucket for San Antonio in three possessions. He fired the shot right in front of Portland coach Nate McMillan, who immediately took his hands off his hips to signal for a time out.
"He was like a roadrunner blowing by us," McMillan said.
Matt Bonner added 15 points and Michael Finley had 13 for San Antonio, which held Portland to 37.6 percent shooting from the floor. It was the second straight night San Antonio held its opponent to under 40 percent, and the Spurs improved to 10-0 when that happens.
The Spurs especially needed defense the past two games without Duncan, their leading scorer and rebounder. Popovich said Duncan felt better Wednesday, but added the injury was severe enough that Duncan would have still sat Tuesday even if it was the playoffs.
Portland was also without its big man, Greg Oden, who missed his fifth straight game with a bone chip in his left knee. McMillan said he wasn't sure if his 7-footer would be able to play Sunday back home when Portland will get a rematch with the Spurs.
Portland guard Steve Blake said facing the Spurs without Duncan and Ginobili doesn't make it as easy as one might think.
"It's tougher, because every play is pretty much for him," Blake said. "Otherwise it's post-ups and getting some play for Ginobili. But now it's pick-and-rolls and isos pretty much every play, and he's so good that he's taking advantage of it."
Parker finished 17-for-27 from the floor, had nine assists and pulled down five rebounds in 35 minutes. His points were the most Portland has given up to a single player all season.
In the past two games combined, Parker hit 54 percent of his shots (32-for-59) and played 72 minutes.
"I prepared myself today," Parker said. "I drank a lot of water because the other game Pop told us 40 minutes before that Timmy was not going to play. So today I knew he was not going to play, so I prepared myself to play 40 minutes."
Tempers briefly flared in the third quarter when Spurs forward Fabrico Oberto and Blake tangled up before officials rushed in to separate them. Both were hit with technical fouls.
Ginobili, who hasn't played since the All-Star break because of a stress reaction in his right ankle, is expected to be out at least another week.
- Oberto broke his left thumb in Tuesday's win over the Mavericks but still played Wednesday. He had two points and four rebounds in 25 minutes.
- The Spurs signed forward Pops Menah-Bonsu to a 10-day contract before Wednesday's game. The 25-year-old was already on his way to San Antonio before Duncan got hurt.