Oklahoma City vs. San Antonio: Can Age Catch Up to the Spurs?

May 26th, 2012 by Ethan Sherwood Strauss Leave a reply »
The Spurs are not old across the board, but the three best San Antonio players are past what we might call their primes. Popovich has done well to manage their minutes, saving them for moments like this. 

But I wonder if this model, the one that has produced some of the best regular season basketball we've ever seen, is actually sustainable against a great team. 

Tim Duncan has been spectacular in limited minutes (26.3 PER). Thanks to San Antonio's playoff dominance of much inferior opponents, Duncan is at a mere 32 minutes per game. Simply put, the Spurs haven't needed Timmy as much as you might expect. This is to San Antonio's immense credit. They earned a No. 1 seed, and the easy draw that came with it. 

But what will happen if more is required of Duncan? The sample size is small, but he looked haggard at the end of the last two playoffs when pushed far past his season average. Against the Phoenix Suns in 2010, in a playoffs where he went 37 MPG, he was sluggish as Steve Nash whipped past on high screen and rolls. Though admittedly hobbled, he faltered under the weight of 35 MPG against the Grizzlies in 2011.

So what hap ...

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