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May 3, 2005

20-Second Timeout: Duncan Leads in Every Way

Prior to Game Four in the first round series with Denver, Spurs forward Tim Duncan said the Spurs were not as reliant on him as they have been in the past.

While the emergence of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili make that a true statement, there's no question that Duncan is the leader, and if the Spurs are to capture their third NBA title, it will be #21 leading the way.

Just seconds after fouling out in overtime of game four agaisnt the Nuggets, Duncan was clearly upset at a highly questionable call, but he realized that if he complained too long or loud, he could get hit with a technical foul, and nothing good would come of that from the Spurs perspective. He then quickly huddled his teammates for an on-court huddle, and encouraged them to finish strong.

That they did.

Duncan's brief inspirational speech might not have been as important as his 39 points and 14 rebounds in Game 4, but it clearly showed why he is such an integral piece of this playoff puzzle. His maturity and business-like approach sets an example to all the other Spurs about how to play in the NBA, and what it means to be a pro.