It should go without saying I pray Tim Duncan doesn’t replicate this performance tonight or any other night during the 2013 Finals.
The last time the Spurs missed the playoffs Biggie’s Life After Death held charts hostage, meaning life’s been rather swell ever since Tim Duncan was introduced to the fold in the summer of 1997. Fifteen years ago, a then wide-eyed rookie out of Wake Forest entered Phoenix for his first career playoff game. He struggled in the first half tallying four points.
Yet, in the second, Duncan flipped on a switch. The more and more Timmy put Hot Rod Williams in the spin cycle, the more and more Harlan began to get animated with awesome zingers like “double team sandwich” (no Hibbert), “Duncan cannot be stopped!” “Time after time, winning joust after joust!” and “Duncan inside! Duncan outside! Duncan is everywhere!”
And it was like everyone in the building knew what was happening because we had all seen this type of bullying before. Certain players “arrive” on different stages. Duncan had already proven himself worthy of being the top overall selection, but on national television, on a stage intimidating enough to break down veteran players, “The Big Fundamental” put on a clinic. Offensive rebound put backs, jumpers, drawing fouls, it was all there. Timmy was DeBo, Williams was Red, the game was the bike and unfortunately for Hot Rod, there was no Craig in sight.
San Antonio went on to win the game 102-96 (and eventually the series 3-1) behind Timmy’s 32 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. And from there, a future first ballot Hall of Famer, top 10 player ever and four-time world champion was born. It better stay at four-time, too.