Spurs | Tim Duncan

Spurs’ Tim Duncan has strong start, weak finish in Game 6 of NBA Finals

 

Spurs big man Tim Duncan dominated early Tuesday with a classic performance, but he couldn’t sustain it until the game’s end.

WEB VOTE Which former Heat player would you have loved to see on this current team in his prime?

bjackson@MiamiHerald.com

The three-time NBA Finals MVP started dismantling the Heat early, with an exquisite 12-foot bank shot, the type we have witnessed Tim Duncan make hundreds of times.

Duncan had a glorious three quarters but came up empty in the fourth and overtime, ending a big night with a thud.

Duncan went to the fourth quarter with 30 points and didn’t score again, missing his four shots in the fourth and his only shot of overtime. He finished 13 for 21 from the field and corralled a game-high 17 rebounds. The Spurs outscored the Heat by 16 points with Duncan in the game.

“It’s disappointing,” Duncan said. “I had some opportunities. We put ourselves in position to win the game. They made plays to take it from us.”

For much of the night, Duncan abused Chris Bosh, tormenting him with jumpers, spin moves and hooks. He made his first nine shots with Bosh defending him.

But Bosh stiffened defensively in the fourth quarter and overtime, keeping Duncan in check and making two huge blocks late: one on Tony Parker and a swat on Danny Green’s three-pointer to end the game.

Udonis Haslem, who had done a good job defending Duncan in this series, did not play because of a coach’s decision for the first time all season.

How good was Duncan’s first half? His 25 points before intermission were his most in a first half since May 2006. It was only his fourth 25-point half in his career — three of them coming in playoff games.

His 18 points in the paint in the first half tied his high for an entire game in any of the past three postseasons. And for good measure, he added eight first half rebounds.

Here’s how Duncan’s first half went: a bank shot, a three-foot jumper, a dunk, a 13-foot jumper, a 10-foot turnaround bank shot, a nine-foot hook, a tip shot, a layup, a very short jumper, three free throws, a turnaround bank shot and a dunk.

For perspective, consider Duncan’s 25 points were four more than the combined first half total of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Bosh.

Duncan’s layup early in the third quarter, off a nifty pass from Manu Ginobili, made him 10 for 10 against Bosh. He finally missed against Bosh, on a nine-footer, but then hit a jumper against Chris Andersen and went to the fourth quarter with 30.

Duncan then got a brief rest late in the third and early in the fourth, and the Heat sliced the Spurs’ lead from 12 to four while he was out of the game.

Once Duncan returned with 9:22 left, he could do nothing to blunt the Heat’s momentum. Duncan had his shot blocked by James with 6:43 left, missed a driving layup 57 seconds later, then missed a five-foot hook shot with 3:01 left.

In overtime, Duncan missed a difficult driving layup, but Kawhi Leonard followed with a short jumper.

Leonard was terrific, with 22 points (on 9-of-14 shooting) and 11 rebounds. The Spurs outscored the Heat by 11 with Leonard on the court.

This was Leonard at his best, and it came in the midst of an 11-0 Spurs run that pushed San Antonio’s lead to 12 midway through the third quarter: Leonard sliced in front of Wade, stole a James pass, drove for a layup, drew Wade’s fourth foul and hit a free throw.

Early on, Boris Diaw’s length seemed to bother James, who missed 13 of 14 shots against Diaw in Game 5 and the first half of Game 6. But James finally got untracked, victimizing Diaw and others in a 16-point fourth quarter.

The Spurs got poor nights from Green (three points, 1-for-6 shooting in regulation) and Ginobili (nine points, eight turnovers). The Spurs were outscored by 21 with Ginobili on the court, and he committed two key turnovers in the final minute of overtime.

Parker finished with 19 points, eight assists and no turnovers but missed 17 of 23 shots.

“I had a career high in turnovers at a bad moment,” Ginobili said. “Makes me feel terrible.”

Read more Miami Heat stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
FILE - In this Jan. 17, 2014, file photo, then-Cleveland Cavaliers forward Luol Deng looks on against the Denver Nuggets in the fourth quarter of the Cavaliers' 117-109 victory in an NBA basketball game in Denver. Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has been disciplined by CEO Steve Koonin for making racially charged comments about Luol Deng when the team pursued the free agent this year. Ferry apologized Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, for “repeating comments that were gathered from numerous sources” about Deng.

    Miami Heat

    More comments besmirching new Miami Heat forward Luol Deng

    Days after it was revealed that Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry made racially charged comments about new Heat forward Luol Deng before Deng became a free agent this summer, additional comments made by Ferry about Deng came to light Thursday.

  •  
FILE - In this Dec. 22, 2011, file photo, Atlanta Hawks co-owners Michael Gearon Jr., left, and Bruce Levenson talk prior to the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game at Philips Arena in Atlanta. Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has been disciplined by CEO Steve Koonin for making racially charged comments about Luol Deng when the team pursued the free agent this year. The team did not provide any details of the discipline.

    Hawks discipline GM Ferry for racist comments

    The Atlanta Hawks are sticking with general manager Danny Ferry even though the team's new majority owner wants him fired for racially charged comments about Luol Deng.

  •  
Shaquille O'Neal stopped by Doral City Hall Wednesday to say hello to the city council before sitting down with the police department. O’neal applied to be a reserve officer and is undergoing a background check.

    Doral

    Shaq wants to attack crime in Doral

    Former Miami Heat star Shaquille O’Neal applied to be a reserve police officer for the city of Doral on Wednesday.

Get your Miami Heat Fan Gear!

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category