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Hey Pau…

By Daniel Strickland on April 11, 2006.

Timmy has been slowed recently, not only by plantar fasciitis but also by a bout with the flu, so it was breathtaking to watch him reassert himself as a dominating presence in the Spurs’ victory over the Grizzlies on Sunday. He took over the game in the 4th quarter, both offensively and defensively, getting key baskets and making key stops on Pau Gasol in the clutch. That is the TD I expect to see in the playoffs, when he’ll have at least a day of rest before every game. He won’t be at full strength until he’s had a few months off his feet. But he was good enough on two gimpy ankles to lead the Spurs to a championship last year, and I have faith that he will find a way to do it again.

To TD’s doubters:

Timmy always has and always will have his critics, but here are a few things I know about Tim Duncan:
1. He is a two-time MVP who has led the Spurs to three championships.
2. He has the total respect of NBA players, who flock to San Antonio for a chance to play with him.
3. He has played through pain on many, many occasions in his career, when most of us would be too pussy to play basketball at all, much less at the highest level in the world.
4. When healthy, he is still one of the best players in the game. And as long as he can get over his plantar fasciitis this summer, he will continue to be that for a few more years. The rumors of his decline have been greatly exaggerated. It’s obvious to those of us who watch him regularly (and aren’t punk-ass bitches) that when his foot feels good and he has anything close to his usual mobility, he still dominates.

Here’s an interesting tidbit for you TD and Pop fans out there: the reminder to drive on the left on the sign above might be a reference to Pop’s first visit to St. Croix after the Spurs drafted Timmy in ’97. He didn’t know that he had to drive on the left, which was a reasonable assumption given that the Virgin Islands are a U.S. territory. According to Pop himself, he cursed out a number of people before he realized that he was the idiot driving on the wrong side.

Kudos to Pau Gasol, by the way, for his continued improvement. He’s become a hell of a player, despite his struggles against the Spurs’ admittedly physical defense on Sunday. But he will never be Tim Duncan.

Time to tonight’s Sonics smackdown: T-minus 4 hours 34 minutes and counting.

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