There's not much to say about Tim Duncan that hasn't been said already. Instead, you can just marvel at the way he's kept his focus, kept his body building toward peak performance as the playoffs chug along, and admire the way he was able to carry his team in overtime against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Game 6 victory.
His clutch basket in the video above was one more dagger for him to deliver in his career. Without Tony Parker in the second half or overtime of this game, the San Antonio Spurs needed guys to step up at different points in the game. Duncan's time came in the extra five-minute period as he outscored the Thunder 7-6 all by himself. He made two big baskets and made 3 of 4 from the free-throw line in overtime.
It capped off a 19-point, 15-rebound performance as he played 39 minutes. It caps off the sixth time in his career he's helped lead his team to the NBA Finals and it brings about a rematch of last year's series against the Miami Heat that hopes to deliver an epic series like we saw then.
"You know, it's unbelievable to regain that focus after that devastating loss we had last year," Duncan said to David Aldridge following the game, "but we're back here, we're excited about it, and we've got four more to win."
The devastating loss is the 28 seconds of hell the Spurs put themselves through in the final moments of regulation in Game 6 in Miami. The Game 7 loss was the rancid cherry on top that was supposed to cripple most human beings. As we often forget in sports, these athletes are humans and they're allowed to deal with failure in the same way we do. They feel sorry for themselves and they wonder how they can come back from it.
The Spurs found a way this year. Once again, they earned the top seed in the West and now have home-court advantage against Miami this time around. It's a chance at redemption. It's a chance to show themselves the letdown of last year doesn't control this year. They get to prove that the process of building this organization over the last two decades is still capable of winning in today's star-studded NBA.
"We're happy to be back here this year," Duncan said in his postgame press conference. "We're happy to have another opportunity at it. We're happy that it's the Heat again. We'll be ready for them. We've got some experience, obviously, from last year against them, and we'll go back and look at some film. And we've got that bad taste in our mouths still. Hopefully, we'll be ready to take it this time."
Thursday, when Game 1 tips off, we get to see just how Duncan and his teammates can start the process of removing that bad taste from their mouths.