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GAME 4 REPORT | Spur Notes

Duncan Earns Awesome Label

May 24, 1999|MARK HEISLER

Seventy points in Games 3 and 4, on the road, with the Lakers double-teaming him, making 20 of 33 shots, with 28 rebounds, eight assists.

Would you say Tim Duncan served notice that he has arrived in this series, or did you already think he was an all-time great?

"He's done this a lot," Spur Coach Gregg Popovich said. "This isn't all of a sudden, where you see him play the way he was playing . . .

"He's just a heck of a competitor. He plays an all-around game. Offensively, like there was a period there where [the Lakers] made a run and got within four, if you really watched the game closely, you saw him get double-teamed and hold the ball too long a couple times. One of them, he fell out of bounds. He didn't kick [pass] it one time.

"I got about one word out of my mouth and he just sorta said, 'I know.' Like that.

"He really understands how to play. From there on out, you saw him kicking it right off the bat out of the double-teams and Avery [Johnson] swinging it and getting everybody involved.

"He's just smart. He's just inherently a guy who understands the game, the way Magic [Johnson] understood it, the way Larry Bird understood it . . . Not everybody understands this game the way those guys do."


Amazingly enough, to the Lakers, Duncan struggled in the opening round, averaging only 18.8 points, second on the Spurs to Johnson's 19.5.

"He was frustrated," Johnson said. "He didn't say anything, but you could tell. It's all body language with Tim. The one thing I know is Tim doesn't like it when his point guard is the leading scorer."


Jaren Jackson, again?

The former Clipper (and Net, Warrior, 76er, Blazer, Rocket and Wizard), who scored 22 points off the bench in Game 3, scored 20 more off the bench in Game 4, making six of 11 three-point attempts.

"JJ's job is to shoot," Popovich said. "If he doesn't shoot it, I'm going to sit him. It's the best thing he does. If he's open, I want him to let it fly 'cause that's the best thing that he does, is knock down that three. If they're going to go at Tim hard, he's got to be prepared and spaced and shoot. And he did it and did it with confidence."

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