SALT LAKE CITY — He didn't pound his chest or jump up and down.
When Tim Duncan became San Antonio's all-time leading scorer in the Spurs' 94-82 win over the Jazz — somewhat fittingly at the free-throw line — he didn't even crack a smile.
Actually, he didn't even know he had just become the franchise's all-time leader in points scored when he made a free throw midway through the third quarter of his team's win. Duncan needed 12 points to tie David Robinson on Friday night, and he wasn't keeping track.
"I wasn't thinking about it too much," Duncan said. "I think that was the best part about it — it kind of happened. George (Hill) said, 'Congratulations' after the free throws and it took me a second to catch on. I was like, 'Oh yeah.'"
That's Duncan for you — unassuming and only focused on helping his team win. And he did that on a vintage Duncan night, making runners, layups and free throws. It would have been fitting if he had banked in a shot at an awkward angle, but he missed his one attempted bank.
Duncan finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds. He has scored 20,797 career points. He also became San Antonio's all-time leader in games played with 988.
"You don't notice him too much, but he had 19 (points) and 14 (rebounds)," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "There's no flash, no beating the chest. Just go up and down the court and go home and get a sandwich. That's what he does."
Popovich has been honored to coach the certain Hall-of-Famer.
"I'm just happy for him," Popovich said. "He's been the driving force behind our championships and for him to have the record now for games played and points is appropriate, and I'm really excited for him."
Fans inside EnergySolutions Arena weren't alerted of Duncan's milestones on Friday night. But they're well aware of what type of career Duncan has had in San Antonio. In 48 career games against the Jazz, he has scored 1,068 points. That ranks him fourth among players scoring points against Utah since 1991 behind Hakeem Olajuwon (1,527), Kobe Bryant (1,202) and Shaquille O'Neal (1,136).
"I'm not aware of any milestones, I just know how good he is," Jazz acting coach Phil Johnson said of Duncan. "He's an unbelievable player, tremendously consistent — one of the greatest players to ever play in the league."
Spurs forward Richard Jefferson has played with and against Duncan and knows where he ranks him among the all-time best. Brace yourselves, Jazz fans.
"He's the best power forward to ever play the game," Jefferson said of Duncan. "He's a true power forward, a highly skilled player, unselfish. Just to see his work ethic day-in and day-out, even basically on one leg out there. His work ethic is something that's tremendous."1 comment on this story
Duncan ranks in the NBA's top 50 in three categories — career points (31st), career rebounding (25th) and career blocked shots (11th). George "The Iceman" Gervin has actually scored more points as a Spur than Duncan, but 4,219 of his points came in the ABA. Gervin scored 19,383 points for the NBA's Spurs and the NBA doesn't recognize ABA stats.
The Spurs have won three NBA championships since selecting Duncan first overall in the 1997 draft, and they might not be done collecting titles with him in the lineup.
"It's been a blessed ride so far," Duncan said. "We've had great teams year-in and year-out. We've been able to say we can contend just about every year we play. Not a lot of teams are able to do that and not a lot of players are able go through a career saying that. I'm happy about that and I hope we have another couple of runs in us."