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Detroit Pistons Fan's View: Ben Wallace and Tim Duncan

Yahoo Contributor Network

A Detroit Pistons fan's notes from Spurs 99, Pistons 95:

We might think, given the Pistons sorry 8-21 record, that there are no games worth witnessing.

But there are memories from Spurs 99, Pistons 95 at the Palace.

Ben Wallace vs. Tim Duncan.

Big Ben was involved in the 1,055th game of his career, which is a modern NBA record for a player not considered worthy of a draft pick. At age 37, he was inspired by this landmark achievement. And when youngster Greg Monroe, usually fairly consistent, seemed to be going through the blues in this particular contest, Coach Lawrence Frank put Ben out there for unusual minutes (nowadays) down the stretch.

Wallace was more than holding his own. He sparked a Pistons comeback on a 14-0 run, and even hit an "accidental" three-pointer when the offense had bogged down. Then, midway through the fourth quarter, he knocked down Duncan (18 points, 13 boards) with a truly accidental elbow.

Sadly, Spurs Coach Greg Popovich opted to intentionally foul Big Ben with the game on the line, and Wallace air-balled a pair of free throws. Ben, like Wilt and Shaq, has always been too muscular to shoot from the charity stripe. I suppose Popovich was merely trying to win the game, but to me this didn't reflect much class.

Tim Duncan reflects his predecessor, David Robinson, in showing total class despite not receiving due credit because he plays in a non-media obscure market that is not New York (witness the newfangled "Lin-Sanity" craze). I loved what Duncan said, after the game, in spite of the Big Ben elbow.

"He's always in great shape, and he's moving well, and he was really active .I asked him on the floor how much longer he was going to play, and he said he was done after this year. I told him he's had an unbelievable career."

From one classic NBA player and warrior, to another.

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