Tony Parker likes the Spurs’ title chances this season

By Quixem Ramirez

October 31, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker (9) and head coach Gregg Popovich talk during the second half of a game against the New Orleans Hornets at the New Orleans Arena. The Spurs defeated the Hornets 99-95. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Following their season opening 99-95 victory over the New Orleans Hornets, Tony Parker issued a statement that bears repeating: the Spurs are still a legitimate title contender.

Parker, who knocked down the go-ahead 3-pointer with 49.6 seconds remaining, believes the Spurs belong in the same sentence as the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder, whose immediate title chances dipped slightly with the departure of James Harden.

This may come to some surprise to the general audience — in which terms like “internal improvement” and “continuity” are prevalent when describing the Spurs — but a run to the NBA Finals isn’t impossible, provided that San Antonio continues to score at a league-high rate while simultaneously playing competent defense.

“We are right at the top. I like our chances,” Parker said. “It just depends on who plays the best basketball at the right time and at the end of the season who is healthy and who is playing their best ball.”

The Spurs, having earned the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference in two consecutive seasons, know the importance of finishing strong in the postseason.