NBA Championship Game Notes
The San Antonio Spurs beat the Detroit Pistons in seven games to win the 2005 NBA Championship. These are notes from after Game 7 about that final game and the series as a whole:
REMEMBER THE ALAMO, THREE TIMES OVER: Before a delirious home crowd at the SBC Center, the San Antonio Spurs won their third NBA Championship, all coming in the last seven seasons. . . Dethroning last year’s champion Detroit Pistons, Spurs added this year’s title win to their previous Finals triumphs over the New York Knicks (five games in 1999) and New Jersey Nets (six games in 2003). . . Head coach Gregg Popovich has led the Spurs to all three of their NBA titles. . . Only Tim Duncan has played for the Spurs during all three of their Championship runs (Malik Rose, a member of the ’99 and ’03 Champions, was traded to New York in mid-season this year). M-V-P: Tim Duncan, who put up game-high points (25) and rebounds (11) in the deciding Game Seven, earned his third NBA Finals MVP award. . . Duncan earned six votes while Manu Ginobili earned four in the balloting from nine national media members, plus an additional fan vote conduced via NBA.com. . . Tim averaged 20.6 ppg (144), 14.1 rpg (99) and 2.14 bpg (15) during this year’s Finals.
SELECT COMPANY: With three Finals MVP honors, Tim is one of only eight players in NBA history to win multiple Finals MVP awards, joining Michael Jordan (six times), Shaquille O’Neal (three), Magic Johnson (three), Hakeem Olajuwon (twice), Larry Bird (twice), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (twice) and Willis Reed (twice).
IN THE CLINCHERS: Three-time Finals MVP Tim Duncan has played some of his best Playoff basketball in the Spurs’ three NBA title clinchers. . . The line-by-line breakdown: 1999 Game Five vs. New York: 46 min, 31 pts, 12-22 FGA, 7-9 FTA, 9 reb, 1 blk. 2003 Game Six vs. New Jersey: 46 min, 21 pts, 9-19 FGA, 3-5 FTA, 20 reb, 10 ast, 8 blk 2005 Game Seven vs. Detroit: 42 min, 25 pts, 10-27 FGA, 5-6 FTA, 11 reb, 3 ast, 2 blk.
IN THE FINALS SPOTLIGHT: Tim Duncan has double-doubles in 17 of his 18 career Finals games. . . Tim is averaging 23.7 ppg (426), 15.1 rpg (271), 3.22 bpg (58) and .477 shooting (159-333 FGA) in 18 career Finals games. . . Ironically, the lone Finals game in which Tim didn’t record a double-double was the Spurs’ first NBA title clincher, when he had 31 points and nine rebounds in Game Five of the ’99 Finals vs. New York (June 25, 1999). . . A career .691 FT shooter in the regular season, Tim is a .711 FT shooter (108-152 FTA) in the Finals.
WORTH THE WAIT: A decade-long wait for their first NBA Championship ended tonight for a trio of veteran Spurs. . . Tony Massenburg, whose NBA odyssey took him to 12 different teams, saw his long road lead to his first title in his 13th NBA season. . . Two-time All-Star Glenn Robinson finally earned a title in his 11th campaign (Big Dog was signed by the Spurs as a free agent on April 4). . . and Brent Barry earned his first championship ring at the end of his 10th NBA season. . . The longest wait of them all still belongs to Kevin Willis, who won his first championship with the 2003 Spurs in his 18th playing season (not including an additional season missed due to injury).
HAT TRICK!: With their third NBA Championship, the Spurs become just the seventh franchise in NBA history to win as many as three League titles. . . Spurs join the Boston Celtics (16), Minneapolis-Los Angeles Lakers (14), Chicago Bulls (6), Philadelphia-Golden State Warriors (3), Syracuse Nats-Philadelphia 76ers (3) and Detroit Pistons (3) as the only franchises in NBA history to hang as many as three championships banners.
AND FOR POP, TOO: Winning his third NBA Championship with San Antonio, head coach Gregg Popovich joins a select group of only five NBA coaches who have won as many as three titles. . . Pop joins Red Auerbach (9), Phil Jackson (9), John Kundla (5) and Pat Riley (4) in the three-or-more championship circle.
CHAMPIONSHIP HABIT: With championship rings from the Rockets (1994, 1995), Lakers (2000, 2001, 2002) and now the Spurs, six-time champion Robert Horry becomes just the second player in NBA history to win a title with three different franchises. . . Horry joins John Salley, a member of championship teams with the Pistons (1989, 1990), Bulls (1996) and Lakers (2000). . . Meanwhile, Manu Ginobili becomes just the third player to win an NBA title and an Olympic gold medal in the same season, joining Chicago’s Michael Jordan (1992 Barcelona) and Scottie Pippen (1992 Barcelona, 1996 Atlanta).
HAPPY (BELATED) FATHERS DAY: Spurs’ Brent Barry joins his Hall of Fame father Rick (1975 Warriors) to form just the second father-and-son team to play for an NBA Champion. . . The Barrys join Matt Goukas Sr. (1947 Philadelphia Warriors) and Matt Jr. (1967 76ers) as the NBA’s only father-and-son championship players. . . Spurs director of basketball operations Danny Ferry was a member of San Antonio’s 2003 championship team, while his father Bob Ferry was general manager of the 1978 champion Washington Bullets (Bob played for the 1960 St. Louis Hawks, who lost in the Finals to Boston). . . According to the Elias Sports Bureau, five father-and-son teams have played in the NBA Finals: Rick and Brent Barry, Matt Goukas Sr. and Matt Goukas Jr., Joe and Kobe Bryant, Bill and Luke Walton, and Bob and Danny Ferry.
SEVENTH HEAVEN: With the Spurs’ win tonight, the home team is 13-3 all-time in Finals Game Sevens. . . Last Finals Game Seven win for a road team came in 1978, when the Washington Bullets won the title with a 105-99 Game Seven win at Seattle.
THE RECORD BOOK: Spurs set a record for fewest points in a seven-game Finals with 594 (prior mark was 603 by Houston vs. New York in 1994). . . Spurs’ went 51-128 (.398) from three-point range, setting a seven-game Finals mark for 3PT shooting pct. (prior was .375 by Boston vs. Los Angeles in 1984). . . Spurs’ 51 three-point FG were the most for a Finals of any length (prior was 49 by Indiana in six games vs. Lakers in 2000). . . Pistons’ 93 FTM were the lowest for a seven-game Finals (prior was 100 by Milwaukee vs. Boston in ’74). . . Pistons’ 126 FTA were the lowest for a seven-game Finals (prior was 137 by Milwaukee vs. Boston in ’74). . . Pistons’ 191 defensive rebounds matched a low for a seven-game Finals (prior was 191 by Lakers vs. Detroit in 1998). . . Spurs’ 115 assists were the fewest for a seven-game Finals (prior was 121 by Seattle vs. Washington in 1978).
POINTS AT A PREMIUM: Point totals for both the Spurs (81) and Pistons (74) were the lowest for one team in a post-clock Finals Game Seven (prior low was 84 by the New York Knicks in Game Seven in ’94). . . The two-team total of 155 was also an all-time post-clock low for a Finals Game Seven (prior was 174 by Rockets (90) and Knicks (84) in Game Seven in ’94).
CLEAN HANDS AWARD: Pistons’ 69 turnovers were the fewest for any NBA seven-game Playoff series (prior was 76 by Atlanta vs. Boston in 1988).
FROM DOWNTOWN: Both Robert Horry (15-31-.484) and Bruce Bowen (13-29-.448) set seven-game Finals records for 3PT shooting pct. . . Prior mark was .438 (7-16) by Houston’s Sam Cassell in ’94 vs. New York.
TIM ON THE ALL-TIME LISTS: Tim Duncan ends the ’05 Playoffs with 2,502 career Playoff points, 25th on all-time list. Next: Bill Russell, 24th with 2,673. . . Tim has 293 career Playoff blocks, seventh on all-time Playoff list (Patrick Ewing is sixth with 303). . . and his 58 career Finals blocks move him ahead of Shaquille O’Neal (57) and into second place on the all-time Finals list, trailing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (116).
BIG SHOT ROB UP THE CHARTS: Robert Horry concludes the 2005 post-season having played in 198 career Playoff games, moving into third place on the all-time Playoff list behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (237) and Scottie Pippen (208). . . With 15 3PT FG in this year’s Finals, Horry became the all-time Finals leader with 53 career Finals 3PT FG (passing Michael Jordan, who had 42). . . Horry’s 237 career Playoff three-pointers are second in NBA post-season history to Reggie Miller’s 320.
THE LONGEST SEASON: Tonight’s Game Seven was the Pistons’ 25th post-season game this year, tying the NBA record held by the 1994 New York Knicks (25).
BEST BEHAVIOR: Neither team had a player foul out during the entire Finals. . .That’s only the third time that’s happened in a seven-game Finals (also in the Hawks-Celtics series in 1960 and in the Lakers-Pistons series in 1988).