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Spurs-Heat Flashback

By Daniel Strickland on December 8, 2005.

During the Spurs-Heat game last night, ESPN ran footage of the last time the Heat won in San Antonio — December 23, 1996. That game changed everything for the San Antonio Spurs.

David Robinson played just six games in 1996-97 after missing a total of 17 games in his first seven season. He was sidelined for the first 18 games of the season while recovering from a lower back strain, then saw limited duty after he was activated on Dec. 10. He played in six games and averaged 17.7 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 24.5 minutes per game. On Dec. 23, in a game against Miami, Robinson suffered a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metatarsal of his left foot. He was placed on the injured list the next day and underwent surgery on Dec. 27 at which time a screw was inserted in his left foot. He missed the final 58 games of the season. There were rumors that the Spurs kept Robinson on the injury list in order to play a weak season and therefore improve their position in the draft. This turned out to be a smart move as the Spurs got the #1 pick in 1997. With their first pick the Spurs selected Tim Duncan from Wake Forest.

Last night’s win over the Heat was a great game for the player who came to the Spurs as a result of Robinson’s injury against the Heat in 1996.

Tim Duncan was involved in all the highlight reel plays in the Spurs’ victory over the Heat, who may have played their last game without Shaquille O’Neal.

First, Duncan got “posterized” by Miami’s Dwyane Wade, who tomahawked a dunk over him with 4:16 remaining in the first quarter.

In the third quarter, it was Duncan’s turn to do a “poster” dunk over a great defender, jamming over Alonzo Mourning and doing a 180-degree swing around the rim to punctuate the play.

Later, Duncan provided the comic relief when he raced the ball up-court after stealing it from Miami’s Antoine Walker and tried to go behind his back to leave a pass for teammate Nick Van Exel, bouncing it off his foot and out of bounds in the process.

Said Spurs’ point guard Tony Parker: “I told him: ‘Just stay at the center position.’”

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