Even in his youth, Tim Duncan was not nearly as likely to posterize an opposing defender as some of his superstar peers. He was always likelier to utilize the backboard to bounce in another geometrically perfect shot attempt than he was to make any demonstrative effort to shatter it or pull it down. While this bothered those who made "fundamental" a pejorative term when describing him, Duncan and the Spurs seemed above the fray even as he played somewhat below the rim.
Given Duncan's reputation for finesse as opposed to force, perhaps Serge Ibaka of the Oklahoma City Thunder could be forgiven for being caught off guard by this ferocious slam dunk during Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. With the Spurs holding a nine-point lead deep into the second quarter, Duncan set a screen for teammate Manu Ginobli at the top of the key and then rolled toward the rim. The 36-year-old power forward received a pass and then switched the ball to his right hand for a sweeping, one-handed slam.
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After throwing it down over the top of a 22-year-old player who earned the nickname "Iblocka" for his defensive prowess around the rim, Duncan didn't mug for the cameras or glare at his dominated foe. He actually could hardly be bothered to slap hands with teammate Boris Diaw.
The dunk pushed the Spurs lead to 11, a margin they would hold entering the intermission. While Tony Parker's mesmeric shooting performance -- 34 points on 16-21 shooting -- may have been more integral to the Spurs' 120-111 triumph in Game 2, Duncan's furious flush seems certain to join Gregg Popovich's "nasty" speech as one of the signature moments of the series.
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