The last time the Spurs played back-to-back playoff games was also in a lockout season.

It was also in Los Angeles. It also completed a sweep, and the theme was the same then, too, after the Shaq-Kobe Lakers were eliminated.

"Substance over style," Sports Illustrated announced on its cover.

But if so much seems the same, the one Spur who played in that game and played Sunday has changed. And that's why the Spurs needed to sweep the Clippers as they did the Jazz.

Tim Duncan's knee needed that.

Duncan's knee was a young mix of tendons and ligaments in 1999. It hadn't been cut on yet and was heading to its first title.

After beating Minnesota in the first round — and Duncan's buddy Kevin Garnett — the knee moved well with the rest of the body to sweep the Lakers in the next round.

The Spur on the cover of SI then? Duncan.

Some Spurs sniffed at the accomplishment, since those Lakers weren't much of a test. Sean Elliott, for one, looked ahead at what was to come. For him, Memorial Day that year would be special.

But that day in Los Angeles wasn't just another day. It was the last time the Lakers would play in the Forum. So afterward Mario Elie celebrated by bellowing, "We shut down the Forum, baby!"

Elie wanted a piece of the floor as a memento, and he continued with this: "We're the answer to the trivia question. I want to turn on 'SportsCenter' and hear Dan Patrick ask, 'Who's the last team to beat the Lakers in the Forum?' The Spurs, that's who."