The San Antonio Spurs escaped New Orleans with a victory no thanks to Tim Duncan. The Spurs’ star big man did not make it easy on the rest of his teammates by fouling out with nearly six minutes left to play in the 101-95 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Before last night’s run in with the Pelicans, the 37-year-old Duncan had not fouled out of a game since Jan. 20, 2010. Besides the glaring fact that the Spurs were missing the muscle that Tiago Splitter provides down low, it also became evident that Pelicans’ Anthony Davis was a mismatch for Duncan. For most of the night, Davis earned his 22 points and 11 rebounds by attacking Duncan in a variety of ways.
A good share of the fouls Duncan picked up were caused by lack of footwork. He was just not moving his feet enough to beat players to the spot which resulted in blocking fouls and late shot contests. The fact that the game with the Pelicans was the second game in two nights may be a reason why Timmy’s legs weren’t as fresh as they need to be. Regardless of the reason, Duncan’s age was made transparent by the youthful Davis’ athletic offensive repertoire.
Another telltale sign of Duncan’s fatigue was the fact that he only had one foul going into halftime. The rest of his five fouls came within an 18-minute span of the second-half. Duncan was no slack on the offensive end, though, as he finished with 18 points and would have probably added more if he did not sit the last six minutes.
It was an intriguing meeting between the two big men since many comparisons have been drawn from each others game. Davis may have won the battle last night, but Timmy has won the war so far with the victory and top spot in the West.
Spurs fans should not be concerned with the poor defensive performance of Duncan since he seems to rise and drop to the level of his competition. With a day off before they face the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, the Spurs and Duncan should be ready to protect home court with ease.