I overheard Bill Walton refer to Duncan as “The Great”, and that got me a-thinking.
Right now, there’re only a few hours before the start of the pivotal 6th game between Dallas and San Antonio, with Dallas leading 3 to 2. I should be talking about that game, or at least the game previous, and maybe I should, but I can’t help talking about that moment when Walton made me wonder if Duncan is really – great.
But first, my notes for Game 5:
Two days ago at San Antonio, the Spurs started with a 3 guard lineup, putting Ginobili substitute Michael Finley in place of the usual Bruce Bowen at the number three spot, possibly in answer to the Mavericks starting with the electric Devin Harris.
I’m so impressed with coaches Avery Johnson and Greg Popovich with their almost instantaneous reactions whenever they find anything to exploit against each other. Since the Spurs started small to contain Harris, there were Marquis Daniel sightings and every so often a Mav slices in for dunks, brave enough to do so since there always seemed to be a hole in the middle and Duncan due to defensive chores would be a step late.
Then of course, as if it wasn’t hard enough, whoever was guarding Dirk Nowtizki always seemed at least two feet smaller than him, and just how he makes those incredible mid range jumpshots fading away is just lost on me.
Popovich in the meantime, took advantage of the two times the Mavs went on a 1-2-2 zone, and at one point Finley came in for a highlight reel, complete-with-muscle-flexing slam over the hapless Erick Dampier, which is usually the best way to attack a zone since none of the defenders would commit to defending anyone in particular – a virtual green light for slashers like Finley.
Speaking of Dampier, this is the part where we talk about Duncan, because Dampier, along with a DeSagana Diop, and even Didier Ilunga-Mbenga and (gasp!) Keith Van Horn formed the rotation that’s devoted to the Tim Duncan fans club, whose main function it is to look silly trying to defend him as photographers take poster shot after poster shot.
Duncan is just unbelievable, with 36 points and 12 rebounds in 44 minutes of play, many times looking like he, along with Parker (27 points), are the only ones producing while the Spurs middle lineup of Ginobili, Barry, Finley and Bowen take turns trying to figure things out.
But is he great?
Continue reading “The Great Tim Duncan”