The San Antonio Spurs have been privileged enough to have some of the greatest players in NBA history take the court bearing their name. From Hall of Famers that paved the way for championship success to the players that put them over the top, there have been several astounding individual performances over the years.
From the days of George Gervin lighting up the scoreboard to the era of Tim Duncan and the Big Three, outstanding players have made it possible for the Spurs to be one of the most successful franchises in professional sports.
With 2020 upon us, I wanted to honor the arrival of the new decade by looking back at some of the most amazing individual games in Spurs history. While there are many stellar performances to choose from, one way to narrow down the field was to look at games where a Spurs player scored 20-plus points and tallied 20-plus rebounds or 20-plus assists in the same game.
From the HemisFair Arena to the Alamodome to the SBC Center, here are the top five 20-20 performances in Spurs history.
5. Johnny Moore’s 20 Dimes Lead Spurs Over Denver (1983)
The 1982-83 Spurs, led by George Gervin, Mike Mitchell and Artis Gilmore, finished the season with a 53-29 record that had them as a favorite heading into the playoffs. After a dominant Game 1 win over the Denver Nuggets in the first round, Johnny Moore stole the show to ensure Game 2 went the same way.
In the contest, Moore put up 26 points and doled out a staggering 20 assists to steady the Spurs to a 126-109 win over Kiki Vandeweghe, Dan Issel and the Nuggets. The high-powered San Antonio offense averaged 132.8 points per game in the five-game series but ultimately fell short in the next round against the Los Angeles Lakers.
4. Artis Gilmore Wills Spurs to a 1-1 Tie with Lakers (1983)
Strangely enough, Game 2 of the series following the Gentleman’s Sweep of the Nuggets saw another 20-20 performance from a Spur. After losing by 12 points to Magic Johnson and the Lakers, this time it was Artis Gilmore that had a monster game to tie the series at one apiece.
Gilmore shot 11-for-16 in the game to contribute 27 points to go along with 20 rebounds in his 44 minutes. Considering he was battling a big lineup that included Magic, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Kurt Rambis, his rebounding effort was monumental.
3. Terry Cummings Grabs 24 Boards in Losing Effort (1990)
Despite being 37-17 and facing a 24-30 Golden State Warriors squad, the Spurs found themselves in a dogfight against Chris Mullin and company in February 1990. After four quarters, the teams were all knotted up at 125.
While 38 points and 17 rebounds from David Robinson kept the Spurs afloat, it was a 28-point, 24-rebound effort from Terry Cummings that really stood out in the boxscore. What makes this number even more impressive is the fact that 16 of those rebounds were on the offensive side of the court.
The offensive rebounding from Cummings and Robinson (11) allowed for the Spurs to shoot 127 times to Golden State’s 101, but somehow the Warriors prevailed 144-135 in overtime behind 36 points from Mullin.
2. David Robinson Leads Spurs to 2-0 Lead Over Suns (1996)
After going 59-23 in the regular season, the San Antonio Spurs went into the 1996 NBA Playoffs as the number two seed. Their first-round series was a matchup with Charles Barkley and the seventh-seeded Phoenix Suns.
After dominating Phoenix in Game 1 at the Alamodome, a one-on-one rebounding battle between Robinson and Barkley took place in Game 2, with the Admiral coming out on top. Barkley had a monster game himself, putting up 30 points and grabbing 20 rebounds for his own 20-20 game.
Robinson, though, was on a step above. Robinson scored 40 points and pulled down 21 boards to go along with three blocks in 42 minutes. The result was a 110-105 victory for the Silver and Black, who went on to sweep the Suns.
1. Tim Duncan’s Dominance Secures 2nd Title for SA (2003)
In undoubtedly the greatest performance by a Spurs player in playoff history, Tim Duncan dominated on the game’s biggest stage in 2003. Despite being a heavy favorite going into the NBA Finals, Gregg Popovich’s club found themselves in a Game 6 against Jason Kidd’s New Jersey Nets.
After San Antonio regained series momentum with a huge Game 5 road win, Duncan made sure the series would end at the SBC Center.
Although the Nets led 63-57 after three quarters, Duncan would lead the Spurs to a 31-point fourth quarter and a series-clinching win by a score of 88-77. Duncan’s ridiculous stat-line included 21 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists and 8 blocks, just two shy of the extremely rare quadruple-double.
Considering the performance clinched another title for the Alamo City, Duncan’s 20-20 performance will be tough to beat in 2020 or in any years to come.