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Tim Duncan remains a leader for Spurs

The 36-year-old veteran scores 18 points to help San Antonio take a 2-0 series lead over the Clippers.

May 17, 2012|By Matt Stevens

SAN ANTONIO — He might be getting older, but Spurs power forward Tim Duncan does not appear to have lost a step.

For the second straight game, Duncan schooled the younger Clippers defenders in footwork and fundamentals, and helped lead his Spurs to a 2-0 series advantage with a win in San Antonio on Thursday night.

The two-time NBA most valuable player scored 18 points on nine-for-14 shooting to help San Antonio cruise to a 105-88 victory. The win takes the 36-year-old yet another step closer to his fifth NBA title.

"He is getting older, just like you are, and all of us, but Tim Duncan is still the backbone of the program," said Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich. "He's the guy we build around. He sets the tone for us.Tony [Parker] andManu [Ginobili] know that full well."

Duncan led the team in scoring in Game 1 against the Clippers with 26 points, so in Game 2 the Spurs went back to their reliable big man, feeding him for 10 points in the first seven minutes of the game.

During that stretch Duncan would pull up for short and mid-range jump shots to score and also post up to utilize his impeccable footwork. On one play, he slid up and under Clippers center DeAndre Jordan for an easy-looking layup.

Clippers guard Randy Foye summed it up this way: "He shows the ball one way and makes a move the other way to the rim and lays it in.

Foye said Duncan looked healthy and was "moving really well" after eight days off between series. But Ginobili dismissed the time off as a factor. He instead simply called Duncan "amazing."

"We are talking about [the time off] now because it went our way," Ginobili said. "If they had won one, we would have been talking about we were rusty."

After the game, there was much talk about age in the Spurs locker room, as reporters and teammates joked about Parker turning 30 on Thursday.

Despite being six years older than Parker, Duncan said he felt "great so far," but not so great that he is looking forward to this weekend's two games in two days.

"Looking forward to the next one," Duncan said. "Actually not looking forward to the back to back, but it is what it is."

matt.stevens@latimes.com

twitter.com/mattstevenslat

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