SAN ANTONIO, April 20 (Ticker) -- Tim Duncan
was unstoppable and so were
the San Antonio Spurs.
Duncan had a triple-double and the Spurs outshot the NBA's
best-shooting team as they cruised to a 110-89 victory over the
Seattle Sonics in Game One of their Western Conference
A leading candidate for Most Valuable Player, Duncan had 21
points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists and five blocks. He more than
picked up the slack for center David Robinson, who left with a
sore back early in the second quarter and did not return.
NBA TV highlights from|
E.piphany of the Day:
Tony Parker looked like a veteran in his first NBA playoff game.
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"They were coming hard on the double-teams," Duncan explained.
"We had to make them pay somehow. I kicked it out and guys were
knocking down shots. We'll take it how we can get it."
Duncan's all-around brilliance allowed his teammates to play off
him. The Spurs had six players in double figures and shot a
scorching 59 percent (43-of-73) from the field despite an entire
fourth quarter of garbage time.
"Tim played phenomenal tonight," Spurs forward Malik Rose said.
"Our entire offense goes through him and he really doesn't get
the credit that he deserves. Tonight he came out and made
things look so easy. He is just such a great player."
"He gets better each year," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich added.
"He feels comfortable and trusts his teammates. He makes
everyone better on the court."
After being played to a 52-52 stalemate by the seventh-seeded
SuperSonics in the first half, the Spurs dominated the third
quarter. They shot 75 percent (15-of-20) and used runs of 8-0
and 21-4 to open a 90-65 lead. Duncan and Tony Parker scored 10
points each in the period.
A teenage rookie point guard matched up against perennial
All-Star Gary Payton in his first playoff game, Parker scored 21
points -- one shy of his season high -- on 9-of-12 shooting.
Steve Smith scored 17 points, Rose and Antonio Daniels each
added 13 and Danny Ferry 11 for the Spurs, who took advantage of
the double-teams on Duncan to make 9-of-15 3-pointers. Parker,
Smith and Ferry made three apiece.
Duncan's triple-double was the first in the playoffs by a Spur
since May 17, 1993, when Robinson had 20 points, 17 rebounds and
11 assists vs. Portland.
Robinson will undergo an MRI on Sunday to determine the extent
of his injury. He is questionable for Game Two of the
best-of-five series Monday at San Antonio.
"David never says if something is killing him, or if he hurts,
he says he's fine," Popovich said. "When he came out of the
game and gave me that look, that was telling for me. If he's
healthy, he'll come back and play because we need him."
Vin Baker scored 22 points and Payton added 19 for the
SuperSonics, who shot 48 percent during the season but just
5-of-17 in the pivotal third quarter.
"We went south. They went north," Seattle guard Brent Barry
said. "We went so far south we were eating Chinese food."
"The third quarter turned into a track meet and we had no one to
pull us together and stop the bleeding," Sonics coach Nate
McMillan said. "It happened so fast. If you don't play every
possession, the game can turn that quickly in the playoffs."
A 3-pointer by Payton had the Sonics within 58-57 with 8:31 left
in the third period before Duncan's basket triggered an 8-0
"We didn't stick to the game plan and started settling for jump
shots," Payton said. "Those long rebounds allowed them to run."
A layup by Payton made it 69-61 with 5:11 to go before the
floodgates opened. Parker had two 3-pointers and Smith made one
before Duncan's hammer dunk on a 5-on-1 break made it 84-63
with 1:16 remaining.
"We got a couple of turnovers and really started running the
ball," Duncan said. "We got the ball up the floor and didn't
really let them set their defense."
"The game got turned to light speed in the third quarter," Baker
Duncan fed Rose for a layup and sank two free throws before
Daniels hit a jumper to close the quarter. Duncan got his 10th
rebound with 9:22 to play and took a well-deserved seat shortly
The teams combined to make their first nine shots and stayed hot
throughout the first half, which ended in a 52-52 tie. Baker,
who struggled at times this season, scored 16 points off the
In the first half, Seattle shot 56 percent (22-of-39) while San
Antonio shot 57 percent (20-of-35).