Duncan expects that these Finals will be a vastly different experience for him than they were in '99, when he was named MVP after San Antonio's five-game conquest of the New York Knicks. Back then, with a hale and hearty David Robinson at center and that fiery preacher of a point guard named Avery Johnson running the show, T.D. wasn't counted on to be the heart and soul of the Spurs. Now he is. San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich calls him "our Joe Montana," both because the offense runs through him so often and because he's the team's quiet leader. Even Duncan acknowledges, "I know I'm the guy others will lean on."
There's no better reason to like the Spurs., which is why, after seven games, they will be champions again.