There was a moment in Sunday's preseason game against the Magic when Tim Duncan turned the pages of the calendar all the way back to 1997-98, his rookie season with the Spurs.
Driving to the basket in the first quarter after a nice feed from Danny Green, Duncan left his feet for what he thought would be a lay-in before Orlando's 7-foot, 240-pound Nikola Vucevic crashed into him and sent him sprawling.
On his way to a hard landing on the Amway Center floor, the Spurs captain tossed the ball over the corner of the backboard and into the basket. Nearly rolling into a backward somersault after hitting the hardwood, he caught himself with both hands and hopped back to his feet in one motion.
"I remember the play," Duncan said after a Wednesday morning session at the team's practice complex. "I don't know if that play itself shows anything. I just didn't like being on the ground any longer, I guess."
When it was suggested he had looked like a 21-year-old rookie as he sprang from the court, Duncan chuckled.
"That's awesome," he said.
San Antonio's all-time leading scorer (22,558 points) isn't 20-anything. He is 36 and about to begin his 15th season in silver and black. His regimen of healthy nutrition and legendary offseason conditioning brought him back to training camp feeling just as fit as last season, when he halted a four-year slide in point production, his scoring average zipping from 13.4 points per game to 15.4.
"He doesn't sit on his fanny too much during the summer," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "He keeps working, a lot of flexibility and long muscle-type training. He watches his diet, what he puts in his body. He's been pretty consistent with that every summer, and he looks great once again."
After scoring 15 points in just 16 minutes in a preseason loss in Miami on Saturday and nine points in just 12 minutes against the Magic, Duncan believes he is well prepared for next week's Halloween Night regular-season opener against the Hornets.
Fit-and-trim Tim set for another campaign
San Antonio Express-News | Oct 25