Tim Duncan’s won four NBA championships. So his two minutes of O.T. fury, that dashed Memphis' hopes of stealing Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, barely scraped the surface of the NBA legend’s finest playoff performances.
Knicks fans felt his wrath in Game 1 of the ’99 finals when he posted a wicked 33 points and 16 boards. You can’t front on the 34 points, 24 rebounds, six assists and six blocks he flexed in the ’03 Western Conference finals against Dallas.
How about the triple-double he smacked New Jersey with in the series-clinching Game 6 of the 2003 NBA Finals?
We could scroll through a memory lane of crucial games where Duncan was in Hall of Fame mode and led the Spurs to victory.
Duncan has aged since winning his first championship in just his second year. He’s battled injuries, skill deterioration, and the past few seasons he’s had to face the harsh reality that he can still go hard, but he has to go home much earlier than he used to.
Which is why there won’t be any clips from Duncan’s 17-point, nine-rebound performance against the Grizzlies in Game 2 of the WCF at his induction ceremony. Tony Parker’s 18 assists will be the lasting nugget. But Duncan’s overtime brilliance – scoring six of the team’s eight points, and partially blocking a crucial Marc Gasol lay-in – helped secure a Spurs win and avoid what could have been sheer disaster.
It was typical Duncan. With the Spurs leader sitting out a large part of the third and fourth quarters with five fouls, the Grizzlies finished regulation play on a 15-2 run that forced unlikely overtime. But then Duncan returned late in the fourth and proceeded to take over a game that had totally switched momentum from an early Spurs’ offensive onslaught to what was looking like a Memphis oil heist in Texas.
With all of these tough-talking, high-demanding, ring-less wonders walking around the NBA, it’s good to see that Duncan is still keeping his mouth closed, keeping his skills tight and saving his best for that moment when the immortals separate themselves from everybody else. It doesn’t always take four quarters of fury. The truly great ones – like Duncan – can do it in two minutes.