Veteran Spurs club takes Game 1 from Clippers

Duncan posts another double-double

NBA pundits have long claimed that Spurs PF Tim Duncan is in the twilight of his career.  Don’t tell Tim Duncan that.

Duncan was again his normally spectacularly fundamental self in game 1 of the Western Conference Semi-finals against the Los Angeles Clippers. But fans who actually follow the Spurs know this is nothing new…he’s been doing it for 15 seasons.

“He’s played like that all year long,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich in the post game press conference. “He’s not going to do anything that’s going to be on a highlight film for TV, but a highlight film for coaches possibly. Just being solid, making a great pass, playing the defense that he did; he’s the anchor.”

Clippers PF Kenyon Martin, who faced Duncan in the 2003 NBA Finals as a New Jersey Net has seen it all before.

“Nothing changes about the Spurs,”  Martin said at the post game press conference. “They just keep doing what they do and Duncan does what he does.”

But it is not just the veteran Duncan who is standing out this season.  Coach Popovich has repeatedly said that this is PG Tony Parker’s finest season and  Manu Ginobili credits the coaches for putting together such a deep team.

“We are optimistic,” Manu Ginobili said. “We had a few great additions late in the season to make us even better. Our defense is slowly improving. I think Boris (Diaw) is doing a great job, Tiago (Splitter) too. Stephen Jackson is putting a lot of character in that defense, getting some big boards.  I think we are a little better. But the league is so tough and anybody can beat another team. We’ve got to stay humble and think only on the next opponent. We can’t be thinking now about the Finals, because it wouldn’t help.”

Former Spurs guard and current Clippers head coach can do nothing but agree.

“It’s easy to get guys to talk about their role, but what he does is that he gets guys to accept their role,” Del Negro said. “Everyone knows that Tim,  Manu and Tony drives the ship. He guides it, and the other guys fit their roles and do their jobs. And that’s why I think they’ve had consistent success.”

Whatever the reason for their success, Clippers Center/Forward Blake Griffin has called on his team to step up to the challenge and at least make the Spurs work for it.

“We’ve got to be able to lock down and stop easy baskets and wide-open three’s,” Clippers forward Blake Griffin said. “We’ve got to make it a little tougher on them.”

Be sure to catch Game 2 Thursday night from San Antonio


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