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Friday, May 1, 2009

Tim Duncan's Leadership Evident Even in Defeat

Tim Duncan's Leadership Evident Even in Defeat

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Tim Duncan stood up in the Spurs' locker room Thursday after their 88-67 loss in Game 3 against the Mavericks and did what team captains are supposed to do.

He took the blame.

A day later, coach Gregg Popovich absolved Duncan of it.

“It wasn't his fault — it was my fault,” Popovich said Friday. “It's nobody's fault, really. We win together, we lose together and we move on.”

Duncan notched career playoff lows with four points and two rebounds in Game 3, but that was partially related to the other career playoff low he set — minutes played (15:30).

He sat for most of the second half as the game got out of hand so Popovich could rest him for an early tipoff in Game 4 this afternoon.

Duncan wasn't effective when he was on the court, going 2 of 9 from the field and missing several chip shots that sparked Dallas' fast-break offense.

“I played an awful, awful game, and I want to try to do better the next one,” Duncan said. “I'll use it as my own fuel and hopefully come out here and be a leader.”

Popovich said he appreciated what Duncan was trying to do, but refused to let him shoulder the blame.

“He's a competitor; he has broad shoulders,” Popovich said. “But we lost that game as a group. We did not play well. It wasn't on Timmy.”

“We pulled the plug for that purpose,” Popovich said. “I think you have to be wise, rather than foolishly brave.”

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