San Antonio Spurs

Tim Duncan Delivers Finals Performance Unseen Since Wilt Chamberlain in 1972

SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 05: Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the basketball against Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat during Game One of the 2014 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center on June 5, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images
Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 6, 2014

The heat certainly didn't bother Tim Duncan during Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals. Then again, neither did the Miami Heat

While sweating profusely as the air conditioning in the AT&T Center failed to work, the future Hall of Famer recorded 21 points, 10 rebounds and three assists while shooting 9-of-10 from the field. And by doing so, he joined quite the exclusive club: 

Anytime you can be paired up with Wilt Chamberlain, it's probably a good thing.

Unfortunately, Basketball-Reference.com's play finder doesn't allow us to peruse field-goal percentage records prior to the 1985-86 season, but we can at least look at the standouts who have come closest to joining the club.

DAVID SMITH/Associated Press

Dwight Howard was on the brink of gaining entry when he dropped 21 and 14 on 5-of-6 shooting from the field back during the 2009 NBA Finals. Horace Grant (1991), Shaquille O'Neal (2004), Lamar Odom (2008) and Dale Davis (2000) are the only others on the right side of 80 percent. 

Obviously, this isn't something that's easy to do. 

And considering the circumstances, Duncan's performance was even more incredible. 

"It was tough on both teams," San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said to The Associated Press after the game, via NBA.com's Brian Mahoney. "They were pretty dead. We tried to get guys in and out...It was really hot out there."

Can you imagine how exhausted the 38-year-old Duncan must have been? Chamberlain was 35 years old when he accomplished the feat back in 1972, but those three years can make a big difference, especially when the air conditioning isn't working. 

Now we just have to see if Duncan can match "The Stilt" throughout the rest of the Finals. 

While leading his Los Angeles Lakers to the title in five games, Chamberlain averaged 19.4 points, 23.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game while shooting 60 percent from the field, per Basketball-Reference.com.

It looks as though Duncan has his work cut out for him.  

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