SAN ANTONIO, June 15 (Ticker) --
With it all on the line, Tim Duncan
NBA TV highlights from|
Dunk of the Night:
Speed Stick Never Quits Highlight:
The San Antonio Spurs
won their second title as Duncan put on
one of the great performances in NBA Finals history, approaching
a quadruple-double in an 88-77 dismantling of the New Jersey
You want scoring? Duncan had 21 points, including seven in a
surge at the end of the first half that prevented the Nets from
running away early.
You want rebounding? Duncan had 20, his fourth 20-rebound game
of the postseason. In the fourth quarter, he seemed to sweep
away every miss by the Nets.
You want passing? Duncan had 10 assists, three more than Nets
passmaster Jason Kidd
as he completed a triple-double. Amid a
swarm of defenders in the final period, he repeatedly found open
teammates for baskets that built a 19-0 run.
Tim Duncan and David Robinson celebrate being NBA champs.|
Jesse D. Garrabrant
You want defense? Duncan had eight blocks, tying a Finals
record. He also had a lot to do with Kenyon Martin
3-for-3 shooting and New Jersey's scoring drought of more than
5 1/2 minutes in the fourth quarter.
Typical of the humble, modest Duncan, he did not even know
he was approaching a quadruple-double, which has been done just
four times in history.
"No, I didn't. That's cool," he said.
"I'm sure that he had absolutely no clue what his stats were,"
said San Antonio's Gregg Popovich
, who became the 12th coach to
win two NBA titles. "He just knows what's going on in the game
and what needs to be done."
For the series, Duncan averaged 24.2 points, 17.0 rebounds, 5.3
assists and a record 5.3 blocks. For the second time in five
seasons, he carried the Spurs to the championship and won NBA
Finals MVP honors while staking his undisputed claim as the best
player in the league.
"I think he proved that tonight," said Nets coach Byron Scott
who lost in the Finals for the second straight year.
For the third time in this postseason, the Spurs won a series in six games but this
was the only one that came at the new SBC Center -- "The House
That Duncan Built."
"It's an incredible feeling to do it here," Duncan said. "The
stress coming into here, you think you want to finish it in four
or five games and get it over with. To be here, have an
opportunity to win in front of our fans, give our fans kind of a
treat, it's great for them, it's great for us."
It also provided a fitting send-off for Spurs center David Robinson
. Playing the final game of a Hall of Fame career,
Robinson gave the 18,797 crazed fans a wonderful goodbye
present, collecting 13 points and 17 rebounds. He helped the
Spurs control the boards to the tune of 55-35 and teamed with
Duncan to outrebound the Nets by themselves.
"My last game, streamers flying, world champions. How could you
write a better script than this, man?" Robinson said. "This is
unbelievable. I've had some ups and downs in my career, but
I'm gonna end on the highest of highs."
Popovich and Duncan sounded just as happy.
"I'm just thrilled that David ended his career with a game like
that," Popovich said. "His effort was really wonderful. He
really dug down deep and showed how important it was to him to
help us get this victory."
"For a second there on the court," Duncan said, "last couple seconds, I really
thought, 'You know what, I'm not gonna play with this guy again.
I'm gonna have to come out on this court without him.' It's
gonna be weird."
The Nets also may be saying goodbye to a star player. Guard
, who is headed to free agency, scored 21 points and
handed out seven assists. He reached the Finals twice in as
many years in New Jersey.
"I've got to find a team or stay with the Nets that has a better
chance of winning the championship trophy," said Kidd, who had
a triple-double in last year's Finals. "That's what I play
this game for."
finished with 17 points and Manu
Ginobili had 11.
"I struggled all series, but my teammates kept confidence in
me," Jackson said.
Martin scored just six points. He dueled
Duncan to a virtual standstill through the first four games but
made just 5-for-31 shots in the last two.
"The shots I missed are shots I take every day and shots I
usually make every day," Martin said. "They made them when we
didn't. That's the bottom line."
The Spurs never led in the first three quarters and found
themselves trailing, 67-57, after Kidd opened the final period
with a pair of hoops. The lead was still 72-63 after Kidd ran
down a loose ball and found Rodney Rogers
for a three-pointer over
Duncan with 8:55 to play.
Duncan decided that was enough. Malik Rose
made two free throws
and flashed inside for a hoop off a feed from Duncan. Jackson
drained consecutive three-pointers -- San Antonio's first of the
game after 10 misses -- with the second coming off a kick pass
from a double-teamed Duncan to give the Spurs the lead for good
at 73-72 with 6:33 to go.
"Down the stretch, my shot wasn't exactly there and luckily
enough, I was drawing double-teams and those guys were hitting
shots," Duncan said. "I'm gonna give them the ball every time
they're open. Guys were absolutely open at the top of the key."
The Nets were unraveling, burning timeouts and missing free
throws. Robinson put home a follow shot, Claxton sank a jumper
and Jackson struck again from behind the arc off another pass from
Duncan. Claxton capped the surge by beating the shot clock with
a jumper for an 82-72 bulge with 3:44 left.
The Spurs didn't score another basket but didn't need to. In
the fourth quarter, the Nets made 6-of-25 shots and scored 14
points, nine by Kidd.
"We lost our composure," Kidd said.
scored 11 of his 16 points in the third quarter
for the Nets, who shot just 34.5 percent (30-for-87). Their 492
total points marked the second-lowest total for a six-game
Jump-started by a rejuvenated Richard Jefferson
, the Nets never
trailed in the first half and led by as many as 10 points. It
would have been more had the Spurs not been snapped out of their
sleepwalking by Duncan.
After following in his own miss and drawing a foul, Duncan
pumped his fist in a rare show of emotion. The three-point play
started a stretch in which he scored seven points in the final
5 1/2 minutes of the first half, including a spin move out of
the low post that tied it, 38-38, in the final minute.
The Spurs came out passive and Jefferson pounced, soaring and
boarding his way to 10 points, including a follow-up dunk that
closed the quarter and gave the Nets a 25-17 lead. San Antonio
had six baskets and six turnovers.
That sloppiness returned in the third quarter, when the Spurs
had seven giveaways to help the Nets get their running game
going. Off a terrific pass from Kidd, Jefferson finished a fast
break with a lefthanded dunk and was fouled. His free throw
gave New Jersey its biggest lead at 55-43 with 8:06 to play.
"I thought that they really created a lot of problems for us,"
Popovich said. "They played hard every night, as was evidenced