SAN ANTONIO, June 4 (Ticker) -- Tim Duncan
needed the first half to
solve the defense of the New Jersey Nets
. He used the second
half to decimate it.
Duncan dominated the second half and demoralized the Nets as the
San Antonio Spurs
took a 101-89 win in Game 1 of
the NBA Finals.
Duncan scored 24 of his 32 points after halftime, when the Spurs
turned a tie game into a Texas-sized party at the SBC Center.
He finished with 20 rebounds, seven blocks and six assists, having an answer to all of New Jersey's defensive schemes.
When asked what kind of adjustments his team could make, Nets
guard Kerry Kittles
said, "I don't know. Ask coach."
"We didn't really do the things we talked about doing, to be
honest with you," Nets coach Byron Scott
said. "We were not very
aggressive as far as our digging back and going back there (to
the post), trying to discourage Tim. I don't know if the game
plan worked or not. I want to give it a shot."
Tim Duncan towered over the Nets in Game 1.|
Jesse D. Garrabrant
Nets guard Jason Kidd
had a better idea.
"Send him to the old arena -- the Alamodome -- while we play
here," he said.
That might not even work. Duncan saw a quartet of defenders and
about a half-dozen different looks in the first half from the
Nets, who were able to limit the two-time NBA MVP to eight
points. But with a little help from Tony Parker
, he took
control with 13 points in the third quarter.
"I thought they called a few more plays for me and I had an
opportunity to get the ball in there and draw some
double-teams," said Duncan, who picked the Nets apart.
"I thought in the second half, we did a good job of taking our
time and we got the ball to our quarterback, through Tim
Duncan, and that always helps, his sort of initiating offense,"
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
Duncan made 11-of-17 shots, thoroughly frustrating Martin, Aaron Williams
, Rodney Rogers
and even Dikembe Mutombo
forced the Nets to take a novel approach to stopping him as
inadvertently popped him in the mouth in the last
two minutes. Unfazed, Duncan walked to the other end and calmly
sank both free throws.
"It's good to know what we can do against these guys," Duncan
said. "It's good to know how to attack these guys."
While Duncan was dominating, Jason Kidd was careening out of
control. The superstar point guard made his first two shots,
missed 10 in a row and finished 4-of-17 from the field. He had
10 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds but never got New
Jersey's running game in gear.
"There's no excuse for me personally," Kidd said. I didn't shoot
the ball extremely well. That's not what I'm known for."
"It was just a bad night for him," Parker said. "He missed a lot of wide-open shots."
The Nets came in with 10 straight playoff wins, the
fourth-longest streak in NBA history. They left with a record
fifth straight loss in the NBA Finals.
They will try to get even in Game 2 on Friday, trying again to stop Duncan.
"He's seen it all -- double-teams, triple-teams and he spreads
the floor extremely well," said Kidd, who also had some trouble
Parker scored 13 of his 16 points in the second half. His jumper
and three-pointer highlighted a 10-2 burst that snapped a 42-42
halftime tie and gave the Spurs the lead for good.
"I thought he had an excellent mentality in the second half,"
Duncan said. "He came off screens and got in the middle and
really made them pay."
The Nets crept within 58-55 midway through the period before
Duncan took control. He made three jumpers, three free throws,
found Stephen Jackson
with an outlet pass for a dunk and even threw in a steal. He drew a fourth foul on the bench-bound
Martin and built the lead to 74-59 entering the final period.
"The guy is going to score," Scott said. "He's such a great
offensive weapon. When he starts hitting jump shots from 17
feet, then you're in trouble."
That left only one question unanswered -- would the Spurs lose their lead, as they had in five previous postseason games. Duncan made
sure they didn't.
After two inside hoops, his 15-footer actually widened the
advantage to 84-68 with 6:32 to play. Down the stretch, he
totally controlled the paint on both ends, grabbing rebounds,
blocking shots and even sinking free throws, finishing 10-of-14
from the line.
The Spurs got a big game from the retiring David Robinson
scored 14 points and blocked four shots. Jackson and Malik Rose
scored 12 points apiece as San Antonio shook off a slow start to
shoot 49 percent (39-of-79).
"I'm just going to continue to try and give them everything I
have," Robinson said. "Six games left, I'm going to have some
Martin hung in as well as could be expected, totaling 21 points
and 12 boards before fouling out. Richard Jefferson
and Lucious Harris
scored 15 points each, but the Nets shot just 37 percent
(33-of-89) from the floor.
Afterward, Martin was upset with the officiating, barking at a
reporter, "You going to pay my fine if I say something?"
The Spurs hadn't played in five days and the Nets had been idle
for 10. At the outset, both teams looked to be out of rhythm and
overly concerned with stopping the other's strength.
San Antonio sprinted back on defense to cut off the fast break
of New Jersey, which shadowed Duncan and left lanes to the
basket for his teammates.
Martin did well to front Duncan and poke away the ball a couple
of times. But Duncan kept playing on the other end with seven
rebounds, three blocks and a steal in the first quarter.
"I thought Kenyon did a great job of fronting and getting
behind and really being active," Duncan said.
Kidd went cold after making his first two shots. When he sat
down at the outset of the second quarter, a 21-18 lead turned
into a 29-26 deficit. Robinson, Jackson and Rose picked up the
slack for the Spurs.