Summing it up

Because of the stakes, nothing in Spurs history will ever top Game 6 of last year’s Finals for gut-wrenching drama. But as far as regular-season games go, Wednesday’s game in Washington came about as close as possible. First down, then up, then tied after having apparently salted the game away, with first Tony Parker (injured) and then Tim Duncan (fouled out) watching on the sideline, the Spurs endured any number of roller coaster climbs and plunges.

They survived it all, including a Wizards team that had dusted Portland and Oklahoma City in its past two outings, to claim what Spurs coach Gregg Popovich rated as one of the best victories he’s ever been associated with. Considering he’s got 1,157 of them to his resume between the regular season and playoffs, including four title clinchers, that’s saying something. Even if he was succumbing to hyperbole while still hopped up on adrenaline, it was unquestionably a remarkable effort — one the Spurs almost had to have given their likely tank in Brooklyn tomorrow night.

Summing it up

Duncan certainly isn’t playing like a man who insists he doesn’t care about getting passed over for the All-Star Game. With 31 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, two steals and three blocked shots, he was the best player on the court in a game featuring two other All-Stars, Parker and Washington’s John Wall. In doing so, he joined Michael Jordan and Karl Malone as the only players 37 or older with at least 30 points, 10 rebounds and five assists over the past 25 years. Going even deeper, no player 37 or older has registered those thresholds according to the Basketball Reference data base, which dates back to the 1985-86 season.

(BTW — Duncan’s averages since the All-Star reserves were announced last Thursday: 23 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 3.0 blocked shots, 1.0 steals, 56.7 percent shooting.)

The turning point

There were almost too many to count. As many huge plays as it took down the stretch to win — Danny Green’s 3-pointer to make it 122-118; his poke-away on a Wall drive late in regulation; pretty much all of Patty Mills’ season-high 23 — the Spurs set the stage for victory with a strong third quarter. Down by as many as 17 in the first half, and 14 at the break, they outscored Washington 34-21 behind 14 from Duncan to get back within striking distance. It followed a miserable first half in which they turned the ball over 13 times as Washington shot nearly 60 percent.