Duncan, Spurs Extend Amazing Streaks

 

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – Maybe it’s time to change Tim Duncan‘s nickname from “The Big Fundamental” to “The Big Immortal.”

Duncan turns 37 next month, yet he is having a renaissance season of sorts that is cementing what was already a Hall of Fame career. At one point during the San Antonio Spurs’ 92-91 win over the Dallas Mavericks Thursday, the TNT broadcast put up one of those State Farm-sponsored poll questions. It read: Will Tim Duncan finish with 20 points and 20 rebounds?

Even though 55 percent of those who responded said he would, it certainly seemed like a stretch. Duncan’s been terrific, sure, but 20 and 20? He had 25 double-doubles coming into the game, but just one 20-rebound game back on Dec. 12 and the last time Duncan scored 20 was on Jan. 21.

And so the 55 percent who voted yes to Duncan notching 20 and 20 were, predictably, wrong. OK, halfway wrong. OK, barely wrong.

Duncan “The Immortal” finished with 28 and 19.

“Timmy played great,” Spurs guard Gary Neal said. “Timmy was phenomenal. Normal Timmy.”

Maybe not normal at this stage for the 14-time All-Star, now in his 16th season. But what the Spurs accomplished in the process of hanging onto the victory over their Texas rival certainly was.

San Antonio became the first team in the Western Conference to clinch a playoff spot (yeah, and taxes are due in a month). It’s the 16th consecutive season that the Spurs have advanced to the postseason, the longest active streak in the NBA dating back to the 1997-98 season, not coincidentally Duncan’s rookie year.

The next-longest playoff streak belongs to the Mavs, who dropped to 30-34 as their four-game win streak was snapped. Dallas isn’t out of the playoff hunt just yet, but their franchise record of 12 consecutive playoff appearances is on life support. San Antonio has been a particular thorn, sweeping the season series for the first time since Duncan’s first season and, not coincidentally, the year before Dirk Nowitzki landed in Dallas.

The Spurs (now 4-2 without injured point guard Tony Parker, who coach Gregg Popovich said Thursday is progressing well from a sprained ankle and could beat the four-week prognosis that had him returning in early April) extended another amazing streak Thursday night, notching a 50th win to make it 14 consecutive seasons with at least 50 (and that included last season’s 66-game lockout shortened season).

Again, the Mavs were closest in this category of consistency until their run of 11 in a row ended last season with a 36-30 record (well below the .610 winning percentage of a 50-win campaign).

The absurdity of the Spurs’ consistency during the Duncan era, which is aligned with Popovich’s tenure, is striking when considering the next active streak of winning at least 50 games is the Chicago Bulls with two. And, at 35-29, there’s much work to be done for it to get to three.

These are two streaks that won’t be touched for years to come, if ever.

Now, back to Duncan, who’s averaging 16.9 ppg and 9.8 rpg in less than 30 mpg. He might have a beef with Popovich for preventing him from nabbing a 20th rebound and fulfilling his second 20-20 night of the season. With 8.7 seconds left in the game and the Spurs clinging to a one-point lead and Dallas with the ball, Popovich pulled his 6-foot-11 power forward, opting for a smaller, quicker lineup.

It worked. Mavs guard Vince Carter missed a 3-point attempt. Manu Ginobili grabbed what could have been Duncan’s 20th board. Not that Duncan was counting.

“It’s always tough to sit in that position,” Duncan told the San Antonio Express-News. “It is what it is. He’s got a game plan, a system in those times to go smaller. If they go smaller or have a shooter in there, he likes to put someone a little more mobile in. You’ve got to respect it.”

That about sums of Duncan and the Spurs: Respect.

19 Comments

  1. Kal says:

    okay, here’s an interesting question maybe: will Tim Duncan always be considered the greatest power forward? like MJ at SG? (yeah, i know, Kobe is great too. and there’s LeBron…) obviously we can’t really say what the future holds but what do people think? i kinda think yes.

    and ps. here would be my all-time team:
    PG – Magic
    SG – MJ
    SF – Bird
    PF – Duncan
    C – Shaq
    (sixth man: Kobe or LeBron … or the wildly underrated Jason Kidd who should have been named M.V.P. at least one of those two heroic season in New Jersey that everybody forgets about.)

  2. SHAQKOBE says:

    MICHAEL REDD to SPURS….
    or GILBERT ARENAS temporarily for PARKER while he is out

  3. SpurForLife says:

    yeah! best organization EVER! all business, one goal, respect for one another, and especially, no EGOS. #gospursgo

  4. heat fan says:

    can they win another title championship this year? (^o^) (^o^) (^o^) (^o^) (^o^) (^o^) (^o^) (^o^) (^o^) (^o^) (^o^) (^o^)

  5. dylan says:

    I hope Duncan never get old…I love his game…

  6. Kilroy says:

    Spurs gonna sweep the fakers

  7. BRADLEY Blocks Wade says:

    Nuff said :D go spurs

  8. Ant says:

    What a season San Antonio my city is having! Possibly lakers in the first round should be fun

  9. Mann S says:

    This is why spurs is my current fave team… Humility, respect, efficiency. They always mean business.

  10. The Spurs beat the Mavs wait to go Spurs

  11. Sam says:

    “legendary franchise, legendary coach, legendary duncan/parker/ginobili. hype and fake directly to toilets, it’s about titles and real wins here”

    you are a complete moron. 4 championships in the duncan era isn’t enough for you? the highest winning percentage of all time from any professional sports team in any league since signing duncan?

    go pound sand you idiot, must be a lakers or heat fan.

    • yungbuck says:

      SAM! You my friend are a moron! lmao you didn’t read his comment correctly! I think you owe the man an apology! :}

    • yungbuck says:

      SAM YOU ARE A MORON! LMAO :} READ HIS COMMENT AGAIN SIR,

    • furiousscott says:

      …yes and lay down the crack pipe while you’re at it. Timmy has been doing this stuff for years. It’s about time he gets some props.

      Truly a legend and great man! Go Spurs!

  12. Robs says:

    The 50 win season streak would actually be 16 straight seasons if the 1998-1999 season wasn’t only 50 games long because of the strike shortened season. Which makes what the Spurs have done even more impressive!

  13. Rolly del Mundo says:

    Tim Duncan is the man, a great player yet humble and will do his work quietly. I really hope the Spurs will reach the finals this year! Go Spurs Go!!!

  14. harimaw15 says:

    The greatest PF of all time..PERIOD!

  15. wowo says:

    legendary franchise, legendary coach, legendary duncan/parker/ginobili. hype and fake directly to toilets, it’s about titles and real wins here

  16. rank says:

    Wow, that last statement proves a lot about his character and humility (even as great as he is)! I hope superstars are as humble as TD.