Big on the boards
Spurs' rebounders show Knicks who's the boss
Posted: Thursday June 24, 1999 02:12 AM
By John Donovan, CNN/SI
NEW YORK -- It gets kind of embarrassing, having two 7-footers on your team and getting your rebounding lunch handed to you every game. It gets downright insulting.
Nobody knew that more than the San Antonio Spurs, the team with the Twin Towers and the rebounding deficiency in these NBA Finals.
Until Wednesday night, that is.
The Spurs beat the New York Knicks on Wednesday in Game 4, holding off the furious and frenetic New Yorkers to take an historically insurmountable 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
The Spurs, despite 7-footers Tim Duncan and David Robinson, had lost the battle of the boards in the first three games, 122-114. Especially galling, at least for those who follow the Spurs, was the 35-19 edge the Knicks had on the offensive rebounding side in Games 1-3.
In Game 4, though, the Texans turned it all around by smashing the Knicks in rebounding, 49-34. And San Antonio took a 14-10 edge on the offensive side.
“Size does matter in this league,” said Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy. “It does. And particularly in the playoffs. Their size beat our speed and quickness tonight.”
Especially big for the Spurs was Robinson, who had nine offensive rebounds -- and 17 total -- to go with his four blocked shots and 14 points.
“David was just a monster,” said San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich. “I’m so happy for him because he showed a lot of people what he can do. A lot of people counted him out this year for reasons I’m still trying to figure out. But he was absolutely awesome.”
Duncan had 18 boards as the Spurs grabbed seven more rebounds in the fourth quarter alone.
But it was Robinson who received most of the accolades after the game.
“My contribution to our team is that defense, that energy,” Robinson said, “and I knew I hadn’t rebounded well on the offensive this series:”
In fact, Robinson had only one offensive rebound in the first three games.
By the end of the first quarter Wednesday, he had already gathered four.
“I thought it was going to be key. I saw the role it played in the last game [for the Knicks],” Robinson said. “I wanted to come out tonight and give us that. Fortunately, it started early. I got the boards early and kept it going throughout the game.”
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