VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Duncan closing in on 5th championship

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - It's all right in front of Tim Duncan now, and the big fella can feel it.

Advertisement
You can tell when he broke out that little spin move in the paint in Game 5 on Sunday night, a nimble little display of footwork that has mostly been in moth balls for the past four or five seasons.

You can tell by the elevation he got on a first-quarter dunk, one of the most emphatic he's had in years.

And you can tell by the glimmer that can't be hidden by the far-away look in his eyes when he talks about being one victory away from title No. 5.

``I think every one of us wants this very badly from the top on down,'' Duncan said after scoring 17 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in a 114-104 victory over the Miami Heat that gave his San Antonio Spurs a 3-2 lead in the NBA Finals.

``We're trying to play that way. We just need to put it on the floor and understand the kind of energy and the kind of aggression they're going to come with next game.''

The 37-year-old Duncan has been asked about retirement and heard the reports of his Spurs' demise for years now. His time, his team's time, is supposed to be long gone.

This is LeBron's league now. This is the Heat's year.

Yet there he was on Sunday night, out-muscling Heat star Chris Bosh, who grew up with Duncan posters on the walls of his Dallas bedroom.

There he was walking up to Tony Parker before the opening tip to offer some quiet words that set the tone.

There he was drawing double teams that sucked in the Heat defense and allowed Danny Green to slip undetected into the corner for 3-pointer after back-breaking 3-pointer.

``We've been in situations like this. We've been together for a long time,'' Duncan said. ``So that definitely plays a role. I think we're just trying to do all we can to will it to happen.''

Duncan may not be putting up the monster numbers that he used to when the Spurs were winning titles every other year in the middle of the past decade.

But if the Spurs are able to win one of the next two games in Miami - starting with Game 6 on Tuesday night - and dethrone the defending champions, it will be as much due to the unshakeable resolve and unflappable poise that Duncan has instilled in this group as anything else.

Sure, Green is the runaway favorite for finals MVP with his record-setting shooting from the outside. But Duncan is the one who draws the attention down low to give him so many clean looks.

Sure, Parker is the focal point of the Spurs offense and has been for several years. But Duncan is the one who sets those teeth-rattling screens to free him up in San Antonio's pick-and-roll.

Sure, Gregg Popovich is the mastermind behind the schemes that have turned LeBron James from a force of nature into a flustered jump shooter.

But Duncan is the quarterback on the court, getting everyone in the right places and serving as the anchor should something break down.

``If anybody is crazy in the group, it's me,'' Popovich said. ``They pretty much have an even keel. Timmy Duncan sets the tone, and he just competes. Whether he does well or whether he does poorly, game in, game out, year in, year out, he competes and people just follow that.''

That's why the Spurs are here right now. That's why they're so close to doing something no one outside of this silver-and-blacked painted city thought could be done. They've never trailed in a finals series because Duncan has never allowed it.

Even when James and the Heat blew them out in Game 2 to tie the series, the Spurs never wavered.

Even when Miami's three All-Stars dominated Game 4, the Spurs didn't back down.

It's a testament to Duncan. To his will. To his tenacity. To his refusal to let anyone bury him, bury his team.

A fifth championship is oh so close now. It would put Duncan's name alongside other greats such as Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson and George Mikan, three titans of the game who stood on top of the NBA mountain five times.

The spotlight-shunning Duncan has rarely been mentioned with the same reverence.

Maybe this would change all that.

``With this fifth one, he dominates his generation,'' Johnson said in a conference call last week. ``He and Kobe would be the greatest winners during this time. And domination wise, he'll be just as dominant as any big man that's ever played, and also be a great winner as well.''

---

Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter: http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
BetOnline.ag: Handicapping Toronto
BetOnline.ag: 2017-18 ROY Update
Irving: No cares about LeBron's feelings
Bucks re-sign 40-year-old G Terry
Lakers land free agent C Bogut
Plumlee back to Nuggets on $41M deal
Richardson inks extension with Heat
F Erik McCree signs with Heat
Pelicans add veteran G Tony Allen
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NBA Pro Basketball Expert Handicapper Sports Picks Records
VegasInsider.com Gold Membership
2016 NBA SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
NeiltheGreek + 3058
Alex Smart + 3019
Stephen Nover + 1413
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
No Games Last 7 Days  
   
   
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Jim Feist 56 %
Alex Smart 55 %
Stephen Nover 55 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Alex Smart + 3478
ASA + 2054
The Gold Sheet + 2021
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
NeiltheGreek + 2873
Bill Marzano + 1936
Paul Bovi + 1015
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 1596
Kevin Rogers + 1511
Gary Bart + 1104
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership