Tim Duncan had a lot of great individual performances over his NBA career – from a 53-point career game against the Dallas Mavericks to a triple-double performance against the Golden State Warriors last season, Duncan has certainly done it all.
Duncan’s excellence may have been understated because the San Antonio Spurs is a small-market team.
Some of his most memorable performances came in the 2003 NBA Finals, during the team’s second championship run when Duncan displayed his all-around game brilliance averaging 24.2 points, 17 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 5.3 blocks and one steal in six games against the New Jersey Nets.
Throughout the series, Duncan exemplified his greatness. But there were two games where he shone the brightest.
Game 1: 2003 NBA Finals
In the opener, he more than delivered.
Going up against two of the better defensive centers at the time in Jason Collins and Dikembe Mutombo, Duncan ripped off 32 points, grabbed 20 rebounds, blocked seven shots, handed out six assists and had three steals and shot 10-for-14 from the free throw line and had only one turnover in 44 minutes of playing time.
Duncan broke open a tie game at the half by scoring 24 of his 32 points after the break, and was only two steals away from the only “five-by-five” in Finals history.
The Spurs went on to win the game, 101-89 to set the tone of the series.
Game 6: 2003 NBA Finals
In the clincher, New Jersey played tough, and did their best to extend the series. The Nets led by as many as 12 points, and held a nine-point lead early in the final quarter.
But the Spurs went on a 19-0 run, sparked by Stephen Jackson’s two 3-pointers off Duncan’s passes.
Video highlights: Game 6 (NBA Finals 2003)
Duncan had a near quadruple-double in that game, scoring 21 points, hauling down 20 rebounds, dishing out 10 assists and swatting eight shot attempts.
The Spurs won 88-77 to win the series 4-2, claim their second NBA championship and gave David Robinson the proper send off as the Admiral retired as a champion.
For sure, there were games that Duncan scored more points, grabbed more rebounds or blocked more shots.
However, these two, are definitely high on the list of his All-time best single-game performances.