There’s a school of thought, prominently led by Charles Barkley, that if Tim Duncan wins a title with the Spurs this year he will call it quits right then and there. He will ride off into the sunset a champion. (If you subscribe to a school of thought led by Charles Barkley, you should probably rethink a few things in your life.)
There are others around the league that think he is done either way. He’s grown weary of the grind, it’s time to move on. Call it the “I’m too old for this s***” theory.
The more logical answer is that he, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker are all under contract for one more year and the Spurs have been to back-to-back NBA Finals, they will give it one more shot together.
Whatever Duncan is thinking, he didn’t show a tell the day before the 2014 NBA Finals tip-off in San Antonio. Here is what Duncan said about retirement when asked on Wednesday.
“It will happen when it happens. I’ll feel it and I’ll know it and I’ll call it a day.”
Duncan may honestly have no idea what he wants to do, he may wait a couple of weeks after the season and then decide.
If he retires, he will announce it in a press release and have to be dragged to a press conference to meet the media one more time. He’d do it without fanfare, without a farewell tour. He’d just fade away if he had his choice.
It will not be that quiet. Whatever happens in these Finals Duncan’s legacy as (arguably) the greatest power forward in the history of the game is secure. There isn’t going to be another Tim Duncan.
But for our sake I hope we get to enjoy watching him play the game in a way few may ever again.
Duncan: LeBron is physically a ‘monster’
LeBron James says he doesn’t see Cavaliers-Warriors as rivalry
“We don’t look at it as a rival,” James said. “They’re a great team. They’ve been the best team the last couple years, last three years.”
“It’s just the next game, it’s Golden State,” James said. “They’re a helluva team, like I said the best team in the league and they’ve been that way the last three years, four years, however long it’s been, I’m not quite sure. But, listen, you guys know, we don’t put all our eggs in one basket for one game.”
LeBron just doesn’t want the Cavs to become comfortable. They’ve beat Golden State in four straight games – the last three of the 2016 Finals and on Christmas – and could extend the streak to five today. Beating a rival that frequently is a cause for celebration, and celebration leads to contentment. LeBron would rather keep Cleveland focused and hungry. Hence, saying the Warriors aren’t a rival.
Andre Drummond hits 3-pointer from inside Pistons’ own 3-point arc (video)
But Booker’s last four – which put Phoenix up for good – came directly after incorrect calls, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report.
First, Booker drew a (legitimate) foul on Pau Gasol with 1:08 left and made both free throws. The problem: One second before that, Suns center Tyson Chandler should have been called for offensively fouling Tony Parker, according to the league:
Chandler (PHX) sets the screen on Parker (SAS) and makes leg to leg contact that affects his ability to defend the play.
That would’ve ended Phoenix’s possession rather than allowing Booker to get to the line.
The other missed call in the two-minute report is trickier, because it directly benefitted the Spurs but indirectly benefitted the Suns.
Manu Ginobili got away with travelling with 59.1 seconds left, according to the league:
Ginobili (SAS) moves his pivot foot.
But he coughed up the ball moments later anyway, and – thrilled to gain possession with a live-ball turnover rather than a dead-ball turnover – Booker turned the miscue into a fastbreak dunk.
Rather than debate how to evaluate San Antonio getting away with a travel and it ultimately helping Phoenix more, let’s stick to just the uncalled Chandler offensive foul. That netted the Suns two points. Their lead when the Spurs began intentionally fouling? One.
Russell Westbrook puts up 20th triple-double of season, lifts Thunder past Kings (VIDEO)
Through 41 games — half the season — Russell Westbrook is averaging 30.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 10.5 assists a game. Those numbers are insane, particularly considering his 42 percent usage rate. He has to put up numbers and do so fairly efficiently or the Thunder stand no chance of winning — and he has the Thunder on pace for 48 wins this season.
The Thunder picked up another of those wins Sunday night knocking off the Sacramento Kings behind Westbrook’s 20th triple-double in 41 games — 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. The video highlights are above.
It’s going to be fun watching him and James Harden go back-and-forth in the MVP race for the next few months.