While the San Antonio Spurs had an impressive run from 1997-2001 to begin their glorious playoff streak, those years had nothing on the next four.
From the 2001-02 season through 2004-05, the Spurs went 264-94 for a 73.7 percent winning percentage, capping their season with an NBA championship in two of the four years. Their worst record in that stretch? 57-25.
While the Big Three era was the Golden Age of Spurs basketball, this four-year period was the pinnacle. Here are the top individual playoff performances in those years, featuring a heavy dose of who you would expect.
2nd Rd, Game 5 vs. Lakers – Tim Duncan: 34 pts, 25 rebs
When the 2002 NBA playoffs rolled around, the San Antonio Spurs weren’t quite ready to topple the duo of Kobe and Shaq in their primes. Still, in an effort to push the series to a sixth game in their playoff series, Tim Duncan went beast mode in Game 5.
Shooting 11-for-23 from the field and 12-of-14 from the free-throw line, Tim left it all on the court with a massive 34-point, 25-rebound night as the Spurs fell short to the Lakers, 93-87.
It wasn’t the only 20+ point, 20+ rebounds he had in that series either. In Game 1, Duncan scored 26 points and pulled down 21 boards in a six-point loss. While he didn’t quite have enough help to get past L.A. in 2002, that would change in a big way the following year.
Duncan was on another level, and while many claimed he may not be human, perhaps Duncan took advantage of a few health trends to stay healthy and pull off one of his top playoff performances.
Be sure to read about the top 2020 health trends, including biohacking and meditating.
NBA Finals, Game 6 vs. Nets – Tim Duncan: 21 pts, 20 rebs, 10 assts, 8 blocks
The 2002-03 season was one to remember for the Spurs. Not only did they win 60 games and topple the Lakers’ dynasty, but they also went home with their second Larry O’Brien trophy to prove 1999 wasn’t just a fluke.
At the end of their impressive playoff run, San Antonio found themselves matched up with Jason Kidd and the New Jersey Nets in the NBA Finals.
With the Nets leading 63-57 going into the fourth quarter of Game 6, the San Antonio Spurs showed that they were saving their best for last. In the middle of a 31-point fourth-quarter outburst was Tim Duncan, who also saved his best for last.
Duncan’s superhuman effort almost netted him a quadruple-double, which has only been done by four players in NBA history, including David Robinson.
1st Rd, Game 4 vs. Grizzlies – Tony Parker: 29 pts, 13 assts
The Spurs seemed prime to defend their 2003 title entering the next year’s playoffs, coming off a 57-win season and sweeping the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round.
In the series-clinching Game 4 of that round, Tony Parker led the way for San Antonio with a rare hot-shooting night from beyond the arc. Parker went 4-of-5 on threes and carved up Pau Gasol and the Grizzlies all game long to send them home early and move on to face the Lakers.
Unfortunately, the superteam of Kobe, Shaq, Karl Malone, and Gary Payton was too much for the Spurs to handle in the second round.
1st Rd, Game 4 vs. Nuggets – Tim Duncan: 39 pts, 14 rebs
The 2005 postseason culminated into an NBA Finals for the ages when two of the most dominant defenses of the decade clashed. Before that, however, the San Antonio Spurs opened their playoffs bid against Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets.
Visiting the Pepsi Center eyeing a 3-1 series lead, the Big Three had one of their most complete games as a unit, totaling for 92 of the Spurs’ 126 points.
Leading the way for the Silver and Black, once again, was The Big Fundamental, who dominated from the floor and the charity stripe on the way to 39 points and 14 rebounds.
Tony Parker chipped in 29 points and seven assists while Manu Ginobili contributed 24 points and six assists off the bench. The Spurs went on to knock out Denver in five games and eventually came out on top in a grueling seven-game series against the Detroit Pistons to capture their third NBA crown.
Tim Duncan’s dominance has been on full display in this series so far and is likely to continue next week as we move onto the years 2005-2010, which will feature a few more deep playoff runs and dazzling performances.