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Mutual Admiration of Big Men

May 16, 2003|Steve Henson | Times Staff Writer

Maybe he's no longer a dominant force in the key, but Spur center David Robinson, also known as the Admiral, still has admirable qualities.

The 14-year veteran finds joy in the exploits of teammate Tim Duncan. There is no jealousy, none of the envy an older man might feel toward a younger player who gets the attention, the accolades and the ball.

"I feel really good watching Tim develop over the years," he said. "It's a great pleasure."

Robinson, who along with Duncan helped the Spurs win the NBA title in 1999, is expected to retire after the season. Duncan, the league's most valuable player the last two seasons, wants his mentor to finish with another ring.

"It is additional motivation," Duncan said. "David has been great to the town of San Antonio, he has been great to me, and it would mean so much to end it that way."


San Antonio point guard Tony Parker turns 21 today.

Sure enough, Coach Gregg Popovich is beginning to treat him like a man.

Certainly, Popovich used language with Parker early in the second quarter that could be described as adults-only.

"I'd better keep that conversation to myself," Popovich said. "Tony and I have a unique relationship."

Parker responded like The Man, scoring 27 points, all but two after the pointed discussion.

"I thank Coach Pop," Parker said. "You need to give him a lot of credit. He gave me, [forward Emanuel Ginobili] and [guard Stephen Jackson] a lot of freedom."

As the season wore on, Popovich learned that Parker is a point guard with the emphasis on points. He likes to shoot.

"Sometimes I try to make him John Stockton and I should let him be Tony Parker," he said. "When he scores, we are a better basketball team. He's a scoring point guard."

Parker likes the message. Why wouldn't he?

"When you say don't pass, shoot instead, it's not a hard sell," Popovich said.


The Spurs beat the Lakers in nearly every statistical category, including taking advantage of mistakes.

San Antonio scored 23 points off 14 Laker turnovers while the Lakers generated nine points off 11 Spur turnovers.

"We had them down, smelled blood and just put our foot on them and pushed them all the way down," Spur forward Malik Rose said.

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