Tim Duncan had a lot of rivals on his basketball career in his 19-year run. For the span of his prime, it’s always Tim Duncan against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. They face five times from 1999 to 2004, Lakers win 3 times and the Spurs twice. Duncan also had a rival from Texas named Dirk Nowitzki representing Dallas Mavericks. On their historic rivalry, they played six times in the postseason which Duncan edges Dirk 4-2. Tim Duncan also faced Lebron James three times in the finals which the old man river walk win twice and lost once.
But one of the underrated battled Tim Duncan that we never talk about is against Rasheed Wallace. They faced thrice with the one-sided affair in favor of Tim Duncan but each series are fun to watch.
First, in 1995 the ACC Championship between the Wake Forest Demon Deacons and the University of Carolina Tar Heels. Although Duncan is still a young sophomore at that time and the team had a leader with their guard Randolph Childress. The young big man is a force back in his college days. The game was so close until the final moments which the Deacons win 82-80. Rasheed Wallace was injured at that game maybe due to fatigue. On the other hand, Wallace is also a beast back on college with his buddy Jerry Stackhouse.
The second matchup of their rivalry happened in 1999. The Spurs face the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals. In-game one, the battle has been so closed which the Spurs win by four points. Duncan had 21 points, 13 rebounds, and five blocks. Rasheed Wallace had 28 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks for the losing team. Of course, game two of the series is one in the books as the greatest game. The Blazers controlled the game in 47 minutes and 51 seconds until that Sean Elliot shot. It was dubbed as Memorial Miracle shot. On that certain series the Blazers back at home losing their confidence. Spurs dominated and winning the next two games in a lopsided one.
Then who can’t forget the very tough third title for San Antonio Spurs? NBA Finals went to game 7 in 2005. Always a tough battle featuring a fun game five on which Rasheed Wallace left Robert Horry to convert a go-ahead three. Even the game seven thrilled the Spurs as they’re down in the second half until they figured out in the final quarter. Hard tough defense and hit some clutch shots that was resulted in a third title.
The matchup between these two isn’t insane as the numbers show but the process is fun to watch until the buzzers sounds. Tim Duncan is a better player but Wallace’s defensive toughness made it difficult for him. This isn’t a rivalry but a battled we loved to witness.