Basketball: Duncan inspires Spurs to second title

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The Independent Online

San Antonio won the NBA championship on Sunday inspired by a devastating all-around effort from Tim Duncan, using a run of 19 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to defeat the New Jersey Nets 88-77 and take the series 4-2. Duncan finished with 21 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists and eight blocks.

It was the second title in five years for the Spurs and it sent David Robinson into retirement with the ultimate present. He jumped and spun around as he punched the air and then hugged several team-mates after being replaced with half a minute left.

The fourth quarter turned the game on its head, with the Spurs - after trailing for almost the entire game - using their 19-0 run to take the life out of the Nets.

Not content with beating New Jersey, San Antonio may now be plotting to sign their best player. Their coach Gregg Popovich knows staying ahead of the likes of the LA Lakers will not be easy and that is why point guard Jason Kidd, a free agent, may be heading to Texas for next season.

San Antonio have $15m (£8.9m) of salary cap money to spend following Robinson's retirement, and Kidd who was in the Nets team beaten by the Lakers in last year's finals may look elsewhere to satisfy his ambitions. "You hate losing," he said. "It hurts just like last year. We felt we could win this year but we came up short."

NBA CHAMPIONSHIP Final: San Antonio 88 New Jersey 77 (San Antonio win best-of-seven series 4-2).

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