By Trevor Zickgraf, Project Spurs.com
Today is Thanksgiving thus marking the beginning of the holiday season, a time of reflection and appreciation for the things this year has brought. As a San Antonio Spurs fan, I am most thankful for Tim Duncan. The first 11 games of the season has served as a reminder of the brilliance of Duncan. His numbers are up across the board, and he's served as the team's anchor on both ends of the court this season.
Right now, Duncan is averaging 18 points, ten rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. He's also playing 30.5 minutes a game, up slightly from the last two seasons. His Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is 27.53, which would be the highest of his career if he sustains it through the season. He's scored in double figures every game so far. He's fourth in the league in blocks and overall the Spurs are dreadful on defense when he's off the court. In short, Duncan is playing like a top ten player in the league and should be considered a candidate for Western Conference Player of the Month.
Two weeks ago, the Spurs played the Kings in Sacramento. My girlfriend and I were there to witness a classic Duncan game. Tony Parker was sick from a flu bug that ironically enough originated from Duncan. Manu Ginobili was still working his way back from back spasms and the team was going through normal early season chemistry and rotation hiccups. Considering the Kings had won two straight (a news flash in its own right), this game was set up perfectly for a Spurs early season loss on the road. But there was Duncan, steady as ever. He scored early and often, making the Kings fans groan around us every time he scored. The funny thing was, a lot of fans would groan before Duncan even made his move. They were just expecting him to do something good. He was just as good on defense, where he spent the bulk of the night guarding DeMarcus Cousins. With the exception of a couple minute stretch that eventually led to Cousins getting suspended for confronting Sean Elliott, Duncan shut the Kings' big man down. Duncan's final line: 23 points, 12 rebounds, five blocks, four assists, three steals. Duncan's steadiness and Patty Mills' out of nowhere 18 point performance led the Spurs to victory.
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