Daily Confidential

Tim Duncan is back and resembling the form that made him a two-time league MVP.

With a healthy Duncan, the San Antonio Spurs look to wrap up a quick two-game road trip undefeated Monday when they visit the New York Knicks.

The Spurs beat Toronto 103-94 on Sunday, then play at Madison Square Garden before heading home. San Antonio hosts the Knicks on Saturday, quickly wrapping up the season series between the teams.

Sunday's win gave the Spurs (2-1) consecutive road victories away to open the season. Since joining the NBA in 1976-77, San Antonio has never started a season 3-0 on the road.

Duncan had 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting to help the Spurs beat the Raptors, showing none of the affects of the plantar fasciitis that limited him most of last season.

``It's gone. Luckily enough it's gone,'' said Duncan, who won MVP awards in 2002 and 2003. ``I don't wish that on anybody. That's a tough thing to go through. It was a constant pain last year that never really went away throughout the year.''

Duncan averaged career-lows of 18.6 points and 11.0 rebounds, and San Antonio was bounced out of the playoffs in the Western Conference semifinals a year after winning the NBA title.

If Duncan can average 20 points and 10 rebounds like he did for the first eight seasons of his career, the Spurs will again have one of the league's most dominant players.

``It's great to see Timmy moving with that kind of quickness again and knowing that the bank shot isn't far behind,'' Spurs guard Brent Barry said. ``When Tim is playing at that high level we force teams to do so many different things. It allows us to open up the outside of our game.''

San Antonio has won five of its last six meetings with New York (1-2), including a blowout victory in the last meeting at Madison Square Garden. The Spurs led by 31 points after the third quarter before winning 109-96 on Dec. 21, 2005.

That was one of many losses last season for the Knicks, whose 23-59 finish cost coach Larry Brown his job and resulted in GM Isiah Thomas taking over those responsibilities.

New York beat Memphis 118-117 in triple overtime in its season opener, but has since reverted to last season's form in consecutive defeats. The Knicks lost 109-95 to Indiana in their home opener Saturday, allowing the Pacers to shoot 64 percent in the second half.

Point guard Stephon Marbury was just 1-for-9, scored only four points and committed six turnovers. It was his second consecutive subpar game - he went 2-for-9 and was limited to nine points in a 102-92 loss Friday to Atlanta - and Marbury was booed during the contest.

``Surprised? They came here to see us win. They didn't come here to see us lose,'' Marbury said. ``I knew I was going to get it. I had a bad game. Fortunately, there's 79 more. I just didn't play well. I just had a bad game. I can't explain that. I just played bad.

``It's still early in the season. We will definitely be back next game.''

The Knicks begin a three-game road trip Wednesday at Denver.

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