He didn't go for 50 field goal attempts. There wasn't a film crew documenting every angle of every drop of sweat. There were no famous rappers in the stands… Well there might have been, but thats besides the point. He didn't even start the second half but Tim Duncan played his last game of NBA basketball tonight in Oklahoma City, and what a game he played! Scoring 19 points, grabbing 5 rebounds and leading the team in +/- with +13. The greatest power forward of all time, the greatest player of his generation who just last year in the playoffs at the age of 39, averaged 18 points & 11 rebounds per game in a great 7 game series vs the Clippers, bowed out in typical Tim Duncan fashion, humble in defeat & defiant until the end. Before tip off Greg Popovich reaffirmed Duncan's importance to the team, he gives us ' a platform to work from', and who can argue with Pop when it comes to Tim Duncan? The duo combined for 158 playoff wins over 19 seasons, the most in NBA history. They won 5 NBA championships spanning 3 decades. They only lost once in the NBA finals and that was to Lebron James Miami Heat in the peak of their run & at the apex of his career, and even then it took a game 6 miracle from Ray Allen to finish off the Spurs! The trio of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili & Tony Parker is the most winningest trio of all time, 575 regular season games together. To put that into perspective Kevin Durant hasn't even played 575 games yet in his career! But all things must end, even the mightiest fall. The Spurs have been beaten before, but this is different. Pop was desperate, searching for answers using rotations completely untested. Kawhi Leonard & LaMarcus Aldridge seemed alone, their veteran teamates just unable to support their youthful exuberance & skill despite a late flurry in the 4th Quarter and a typically huge game from Tim Duncan. For the first time in a historic season for the Spurs they just looked old, and more importantly outmatched.
Credit must be given to OKC, sometimes the ball just bounces your way. And sometimes you have to work your hardest & play the best basketball of your life to be one of the few NBA teams in history to beat down a 67 win team in a playoff series. After being blown out in game 1 & written off completely Kevin Durant looked like the MVP, Steven Adams was the best Big in the series, Westbrook finally took on the number 2 role & even Roberson was draining triples whilst looking like Kawhi Leonard on Defence! However theres plenty of time to write about, read about & enjoy the careers of Kevin Durant & Russell Westbrook and what lays ahead for this Thunder team. Today we have to spend the time reflecting on Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili & possibly even Greg Popovich. The league wont be the same without them. They are a constant for all Gen Y' NBA fans. Death, taxes & the Spurs. Just like that, in front of a crazy blue T-shirt wearing crowd... They were gone.