No telling apart
Duncan's versatility, Shaq's brute earn co-MVP honors
Posted: Sunday February 13, 2000 10:30 PM
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Shaq showed his power and glimpses of finesse, too. And Tim Duncan was his usual long-armed presence in the middle with great touch, reaching above the pack for inside baskets and stuffs.
Who was more important for the West in its 137-126 All-Star victory over the East on Sunday? It was a tossup, so much so that Shaquille O'Neal and Duncan shared the MVP award in the 49th game.
"Shaq's a force to deal with night in and night out," Duncan said of his co-winner. "You don't see many MVP guys who can go inside and outside," O'Neal said, returning the praise. It marked just the third time in All-Star history there had been a co-MVP and first since 1993 when Utah teammates Karl Malone and John Stockton shared the award following the game at Salt Lake City.
In 1959, Elgin Baylor of Minneapolis and Bob Pettit of St. Louis were co-winners.
O'Neal didn't even play the fourth quarter because he had a sore shoulder. Before he left, he showed the versatility and the brute strength that on many nights makes him unstoppable. He dribbled coast-to-coast for a finger roll layin in the first half, he banked in short jumpers and he drove down numerous dunks -- one after he got alone for a 360-degree spin-and-stuff that the public address announcer summed up as 'Shaq slam.'
"I told Kobe [Bryant] if I got a break, I'd do something nasty. I was going to windmill but my shoulder gave out, so I just did a little 360," O'Neal said. And on his ball-handling exhibition from one end to the other?
"I saw an opening. I just took a couple of dribbles with long strides and laid it up," said the 7-foot-1, 315-pound O'Neal.
Duncan's steady play that led the Spurs to their first title last year was evident all day as he hit 12-of-14 shots.
His most pronounced dunk came in the final minutes after the West had pulled away when he took a nifty blind pass from Kevin Garnett and drove the ball down with his left hand, punctuating the victory.
"Kevin just made a great pass to me. I went up and Zo [Alonzo Mourning] was there and the ball just went down for me," Duncan said.
"This is the kind of game where you have to get out and run and know the ball is coming. You have to keep your hands up."
O'Neal, finished with 22 points and nine rebounds. Duncan had 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, seven on the offensive end.
"It was our size against their quickness," Duncan said. "On this day size won."
O'Neal said he enjoyed his seventh NBA All-Star game and not just because he shared an MVP award.
"Watching Vince Carter win the slam dunk contest. I've never seen anybody do stuff like that," O'Neal said.
"Now that I've become a veteran, I rested a little more and I took in some of the festivities. When I was younger, all I did was party, party, party."