Not long after Tony Parker attempted only 11 shots in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers earlier this week, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich approached his All-Star point guard with a question that sounded more like a suggestion.

"Pop said, 'Are you going to shoot some time during the season?' ' " Parker said.

Off to a slow start after posting a career year last season, Parker didn't require a translator to catch his coach's drift.

"He was messing with me," Parker said. "He was telling me, 'I want you to be more aggressive.' "

In a 112-100 victory in Boston on Wednesday, Parker took Popovich's words to heart, hitting 12 of 17 shots on his way to a season-best 26 points.

It was only the third 20-point night of the season for Parker, who had 26 games of 20-plus points during last season's second-team All-NBA campaign, and his first since Nov. 3.

Having newly rediscovered his high-scoring identity, Parker hopes the Celtics game marks the start of an upward trend as the Spurs' road trip continues tonight at Indiana.

Most heartening for the Spurs in Boston, Parker scored nine of his baskets in the paint, a testament to the forcefulness Popovich had been pining for.