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1999 NBA Playoffs

Going one-on-one

CNN/SI's Vince Cellini talks hoops with Tim Duncan

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Posted: Sunday June 27, 1999 07:14 PM

  Tim Duncan: "We came off that long layoff and we didn't want to give this one away knowing their history throughout these playoffs of getting that first game ."

SAN ANTONIO (CNN/SI) -- Tim Duncan's first NBA Finals apperance was a smashing success -- 33 points, 16 rebounds and two blocks to lead San Antonio to a Game 1 win over the New York Knicks.

After the game, Duncan sat down with CNN/SI's Vince Cellini to talk about the Spurs' dominance, as well as his own.

Cellini: Can you talk a little about the layoff. You've been off since June 6 and coming back tonight and easing into this game. In the first quarter, New York was very strong, but you guys were patient, settled in and then took over.

Duncan: We knew that we'd have a little rust coming into that first quarter. It took a while to get into it, both defensively and offensively. We knew it was a 48-minute game, and that's how we play. We played that way all year. That's one of the themes of our team. We know we're going to play the whole thing through, things are going to get better and better and come the fourth quarter, we're going to pull away.

Cellini: There may not be a more patient team in the NBA. Nothing seems to rattle you guys. There's no outward emotion when you're watching the other team, even as well as the Knicks played at times, you guys seemed confident that things were going to be all right.

Duncan: We're a very confident team and we know what we can do. We're not going to get down on ourselves. People might get excited when they're up two or three or four, but we keep our composure and things will come out of that.

Cellini: Watching you tonight, they seemed to run three or four different defenders at you. You had a lot of success later in the game, you were able to face the basket and do almost whatever you wanted to do. When you have that kind of height advantage, was that allow you to do?

Duncan: They have some quick hands so you have to take care of the ball. Once I get turned around and get the shot over them, it made it a lot easier. They were trying to play physical with me and I tried to get away from them a little, make some shots over them instead of working really, really hard for them.

Cellini: You shared the scoring spotlight with Jaren Jackson. Because they doubled-down on you, it freed him up for some 3-pointers. And there were some ridiculous 3-pointers, let's face it.

Duncan: I told him. He came back to the bench and I said, 'Great shot, but you know you're a little crazy.' He's a little different. But he's hitting those shots and they're the greatest shots in the world. Hopefully he doesn't start missing them.

Cellini: The New York Knicks have been stealing Game 1 in each of their playoff series. So coming into this, how important was it to take this Game 1? They're all important, but Game 1 has been New York's game.

Duncan: I think home court period is very important for us, especially this one. We came off that long layoff and we didn't want to give this one away knowing their history throughout these playoffs of getting that first game and getting the momentum on their side. We wanted to come in here and get the rust off us early and really get into it.

 
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