Heading into Monday's Game 1 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the San Antonio Spurs' Big Three of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili need just one more win to match the NBA record for playoff victories by a trio of players, per ESPN Stats & Info.
The record of 110 is currently held by former Los Angeles Lakers Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Cooper. San Antonio's heralded trio found immediate success in the league, winning a championship in 2003 to cap off Ginobili's rookie season.
Parker, who entered the NBA one year before the Argentinian swingman, made a major leap from his first to second season and was the team's second-leading scorer during that playoff run, trailing only Duncan. Ginobili led the San Antonio bench in minutes during the 2003 playoffs, quickly acclimating to the sixth-man role that he's since become so well known for.
The Spurs then added two more titles (2005 and 2007) in the next four seasons, despite cycling through a number of different players around their Big Three. Bruce Bowen was the only other constant, topping 2,000 minutes in each of the three championship campaigns. Aside from Bowen and the Big Three, Brent Barry was the lone Spur to top 1,500 minutes in even two of the three title seasons, as he logged 1,742 in 2004-05 and 1,631 in 2006-07.
The Spurs haven't won a title since 2007, but they came awfully close last year and have yet to miss the playoffs during the Parker-Ginobili-Duncan era.
Johnson, Cooper and Abdul-Jabbar were even more successful, reaching the playoffs in each of their 10 seasons together from 1979-80 to 1988-89, while winning an astounding five championships. Of course, that isn't the trio the Showtime Lakers are known for, as Hall of Famer James Worthy was much more prominent than Cooper, who was an excellent bench player in his own right.
While the Spurs' Big Three trails the Lakers' in championships, Duncan and Co. still have time to do work.
In the wake of an impressive second-round dismantling of the Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio enters the Western Conference Finals as the clear favorite. Adding to the Spurs' already strong chances, Thunder forward Serge Ibaka has been ruled out for the rest of the postseason, meaning OKC will be without the lesser member of its own Big Three. With Ibaka out, the Spurs look like a near-lock to pick up the two victories needed for sole possession of the playoff wins record.
Looking beyond the 2014 playoffs, the future accolades of San Antonio's Big Three will likely hinge on how much longer Duncan wants to play for. The 38-year-old future Hall of Famer appears to have a few good years left, but how much more can he really accomplish?
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