San Antonio Spurs 101-89 New Jersey Nets
(Spurs lead best-of-seven series 1-0)
Tim Duncan inspired the San Antonio Spurs to a 101-89 win over the New Jersey Nets in game one of the NBA Finals.
Duncan drives between New Jersey's Kittles and Martin
With the game tied at 42-42 after a sloppy first-half, the Spurs took complete control in the third quarter as the Nets offence continued to misfire.
Duncan's dominant display was the perfect answer to anybody who doubted his status as the NBA's Most Valuable Player this year.
His haul of 32 points, 20 rebounds, six assists and seven blocked shots proved to be the main difference between the teams.
Duncan was well supported by veteran centre David Robinson, who chipped in with 14 points and four blocks, and French star Tony Parker, who scored 16 points.
San Antonio's victory ended a 10-game post-season winning streak for the Nets.
It was big for us to get this one - we want to leave here up 2-0
"When Dave (Robinson) plays like that we are so much tougher to beat,"
Duncan told reporters.
"The first half everyone was jittery, we had a bunch of turnovers, people were trying to loosen up.
"It's a big confidence booster knowing the streak they were on and the kind
of confidence they were coming here with.
"It was big for us to get this one. We want to leave here up 2-0, knowing we have to go there and play three games."
New Jersey's resistance was led by Kenyon Martin, who scored 21 points, but foul trouble limited his playing time.
Jason Kidd, the Nets' inspirational point guard, had an off night, scoring just 10 points on 4-17 shooting.
They have the league MVP and he played like one tonight
"There's no excuse for me personally," said Kidd when asked
if the team's 10-day lay-off affected his play.
"San Antonio came out hard in the second half and we were
passive. They're the best team in the NBA and very consistent.
"They have the league MVP and he played like one tonight."
Despite the best efforts of a noisy 18,797-strong crowd at the SBC Center, San Antonio started the game slowly.
But with New Jersey faring little better, the teams entered the intermission level at 42-42.
The Spurs opened the second half with a seven-point run, as Bruce Bowen and Parker hit three-pointers to help the home side into a lead they would never relinquish.
Parker, whose head-to-head battle with Kidd will be one of the key contests of the series, contributed two more three-pointers to help the Spurs take a 16-point lead with seven minutes left.
The Nets briefly threatened to stage a comeback but could never duplicate the sparkling basketball they played to get to the Finals, shooting just 37% from the field.
Game two of the seven-game series is in San Antonio on Friday.