Tim Duncan has made 57% of his field goals in February. That's the highest fg% among all of the players that attempted at least 11 shots per game and it's not like he's taking all of his shots near the rim. Tim hit 25 of his 71 jumpers over the first 45 games he played in this season, which is 35.2% on 1.5 attempts per game. I wondered what happened to his jumper on February 4th and have been pleasantly surprised to see its return. In the seven games since February 4th, Tim has hit 15 of his 25 jumpers, which is 60% on 3.5 attempts per game. It's a small sample size but it's a recent development in the right direction, and for now, I'll take it.
Here's a pick-and-pop from Duncan that was set up with a pretty behind-the-back dime from Parker. Tim shows no hesitation with his J, his legs are under him and the ball has a nice arc. I'm not sure what's wrong with Splitter, but if Tim's J has indeed returned, the floor spacing can't hurt Tiago (assuming he returns to a starting role at some point.)
That play worked so well before that Tony and Tim try it again. This time LaMarcus Aldridge scrambles out to deny Tim the open look and Duncan pump-fakes, puts the ball on the floor and somehow gets a ridiculous shot to drop off the glass.
Tim Duncan beats Robin Lopez, who's 12 years younger, down the middle of the floor in transition and Kawhi Leonard feeds him just inside the free throw line. Tim gathers the ball in stride, sees Aron Baynes is holding LMA at bay and with Lopez out of the picture, there's plenty of room in the lane for Tim to get to the hoop and finish with a finger roll.
After Tim and Tony make a hand-off at the top of the arc the big man uses a couple of screens to get superb position under the hoop. Batum brings excellent help as Leonard holds off Lopez, but the big fella, feeling it, gets a tough layup to go.
A play like this has to make you think there's a chance these guys can get it together before the second season. The Spurs move their bodies and the ball without hesitation and with clear purpose and it results in a nice groove. The Spurs eventually get a good look when the Blazers trap Parker and leave Duncan free to dive with just enough space to drop in a floater over the helping Lopez. The Spurs don't always act decisively, but when they do, it's beautiful basketball.
Let's finish this GIF Breakdown with a little point-Tim. Duncan wins the battle for the rebound against Robin Lopez with his long arms and a couple of tips while half of both teams hang back to see what happens with the loose ball. Tim eschews the outlet pass and shows off his handles as he quickly pushes the ball up the court which catches Portland off-guard. Batum has his eye on Danny Green but is forced leave him open at the break to pick up Tim, who tallies a helper with an excellent, no-look dish.
Alright Pounders and Spurs fans, stay strong, hold on to hope and remember that the Spurs have one of the all-time great leaders and teammates in Timmy, and the grey-bearded warrior certainly isn't ready to lay down his sword just yet. Tempering expectations for this season, which I'm sure even the most optimistic of fans has done by now, is pragmatic, but abandoning hope and declaring the Spurs done? Not me. Not with Tim kicking Father Time's butt night after night.