DALLAS --Tim Duncan will be 37years old in April. But the San Antonio Spurs' forward has played so well this season, it's as if he's 27 years old.
Going into Sunday's 6:30 p.m. game against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center, Duncan is averaging 17.8 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. In other words, he's been one of the more efficient players for the Spurs.
"He is remarkable,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "He's playing at an All-Star level, obviously.
"It's a credit to what he does all year long, but especially in the summer. He works out consistently
By that I don't mean he's throwing tires. He does stretching flexibility
kinds of things, and he's adamant about what he puts in his body more than anything.''
Duncan, indeed, does looks leaner and meanr than he has in recent years.
"If you look at him, he looks skinny,'' Popovich said. "He's really cut. There's no fat there.
"It helps him maintain a little bit of athleticism. He's never been a leaper or a Mr. Quick or that kind of thing. but he's driving by people, he's pivoting in the post, he's starting and stopping better than he ever has before. He's playing better than he has probably in the last couple or two, three, four years. It's unbelievable.''
Mavs coach Rick Carslisle has marveled about how Duncan has been able to maintain his superstar status during a time when most players his age would likely have a consistent dropoff in their game.
"It's clear that he has a great love and respect for the game, and he loves playing,'' Carlisle said. "So that always is a big help.
"And he's been able to keep his health right. They've done a great job in keeping his minutes at the right number over the last several years to keep him still energetic and bouncing around out there.''
Popovich, who has won four NBA titles -- all with Duncan -- refuses to take credit for his 15th-year veteran's success.
"it's not like we've done some magical thing or we put him on a program,'' Popovich said. "He's done it himself.''
Popovich then went on a tongue-in-cheek statement about Duncan.
"I haven't coached him in about 10 years,'' Popovich said. "We don't even talk to each other.
"We're tried of looking at each other. I'm just glad he shows for the game.''
Asked if he's using Duncan more on the low post than in previous years, Popovich said: "Not really. I just let him do what he wants. I follow him around.
"He's got another year left on his contract, so I'll follow him for another year. I'm smart.''
-- Dwain Price
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