Sunday, February 13, 2011

Duncan & The Spurs Up Close

I had the privilege of watching the Spurs up close in someone else's gym last week. I was the enemy for one night. The only problem is the Spurs are pretty well respected especially in cities not named Phoenix, Dallas and LA. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker all got lots of applause from Kings fans (and the healthy amount of silver and black fans in the crowd).

Once the game got going the Spurs went up pretty quickly and didn't look back. So the starters, especially Duncan, got plenty of rest (He was still effective, 12 points and 5 boards in only 13 minutes of work). This allowed guys like Tiago Splitter to get plenty of run and he played great. He had 16 points and 9 rebounds and most importantly, completely frustrated DeMarcus Cousins who had been playing great in the previous few weeks.

One thing I noticed, especially in the 2nd half, was how active Tim Duncan is on the bench. We were sitting really close to the bench so it was pretty cool to see Pop and everyone else up close (unfortunately we only got to see Pop blow up two times). Back to Duncan, he's like the Spurs' extra assistant coach. There was one point where Duncan noticed something while the Spurs were on offense and he immediately tapped Pop on the shoulder and they started talking about it like Pop does with all of his assistants. It was compelling to watch because you just don't see too many players and coaches act that way towards one another. I suppose it's what comes with having a player and coach together for 13 years.

We also got to see a lot of Duncan chatting up his fellow teammates and the referees. I'm not talking the bug eyed expression when he gets called for a foul. The point is he is the conscience of the team. You could tell his teammates look up to him but also know that they can treat him as one of the guys. The rare part about Duncan is the assistant coaches and even his wine loving coach who majored in Soviet Studies look at him as a peer. I can't wait for the playoffs so I can see Duncan playing 35-40 minutes a game but just for one night I was perfectly content watching a player who's mind was more active then his bank shot.

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