|Duncan, the Spurs' leader, gets fourth championship|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 14 June 2007 18:05|
Duncan, on the court to the final second, jumped up and down, caught teammate Bruce Bowen for a bear hug, and held his arms above his head as a champion once again.
``It never gets old, it never gets old. Unbelievable,'' Duncan said. ``Such a great run, a great journey, a great bunch of guys, it's unbelievable.''
Duncan, one of the best center/power forwards ever to play in the league, has led the Spurs with discipline, dedication and diligence.
``We've come so far as a group of guys going through our ups and downs and learning from them. It is such a relief to finally get it done,'' Duncan said.
But in Game 4, at least, the Big Fundamental had quite a bit of help. Duncan wasn't as prolific offensively as usual, finishing with 12 points and 15 rebounds in the Spurs' 83-82 victory that gave them a sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Instead it was the team's second- and third-leading scorers, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, who bumped up the score for San Antonio.
Parker had 24 points and was selected finals MVP, an award Duncan won after the Spurs' titles in 1999, 2003 and 2005.
Duncan - now in his 10th year in the league, all with the Spurs - said earlier this week when asked that he would vote for Parker for finals MVP.
``Sure,'' Duncan said. ``As long as we get to four that's all that matters.''
They did on Thursday, completing their first-ever sweep of a finals series. The Spurs are 16-6 (72 percent) all-time in the finals and hold the best winning percentage in finals history.
While the Spurs win without much offensive help from the Big Fundamental shows that the team is more balanced than ever, Duncan remains San Antonio's base.
``Tim is the common denominator,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said before Game 4. ``It doesn't matter what year he's been in or what championship year. He's got a different cast around him from '99, '03 and '05.
``He's welcomed them all, he's found a way to help them all fit, feel comfortable in their roles, and not many players can do that.''
Duncan, the team's leading scorer, was largely absent offensively on Thursday. He was just 4-of-15 from the field. He did his job on defense, though, going strong on the boards to lead the Spurs with 15 rebounds.
Duncan came into Game 4 averaging 22.7 points per game during the playoffs.
He didn't get his first field goal - a hook shot to put San Antonio up 42-36 - until 2:18 had passed in the third quarter. He had no points in the first quarter and just two at halftime.