DAR Sports: 1999 NBA Finals- San Antonio Spurs vs New York Knicks

By @TrueGodImmortal 

In many ways, this is the forgotten NBA Finals series. The lockout season that truly gets forgotten when talking the NBA, this was without a doubt a monumental series yet still reads as insignificant in some ways. Regardless, today we look at the 1999 Finals after the shortened season. Let's get into it.

The Knicks had been in this position before, recently too. The 1994 Finals saw the Knicks let a championship slip out of their hands in a 7 game series with the Rockets. However, they found themselves back in the Finals after a crazy road in the shortened 1999 season and wins in the playoffs over the Heat, the Hawks, and eastern conference rival Pacers. The Spurs would reach the Finals led by Tim Duncan and David Robinson, the Twin Towers, after soundly defeating the Timberwolves, the Lakers, and the Trailblazers. With the stage set, the whole season was getting ready to come to an end. It had been a wild ride and a crazy short season, but the Knicks and Spurs would go at it for the championship.

The Knicks boasted a starting lineup of Charlie Ward, Allan Houston, Sprewell, Larry Johnson, and Marcus Camby took over for the injured Ewing. The Spurs lineup would see Avery Johnson, Mario Elie, Sean Elliott, Duncan, and Robinson. With game 1 approaching, only time would tell who walks away with the title.

*Game 1

-A low scoring first game in a oddly low scoring series, Game 1 of this series featured the Spurs looking slightly dominant and taking control of the game throughout. The Knicks couldn't really find a rhythm and would end up taking a loss in game 1 89-77. Both Duncan and Robinson played solid games, but Duncan seemed poised to soon take over as the Spurs leader. This series would prove that. With the series 1-0, could the Knicks come back and tie it up?

*Game 2

-Unfortunately, they could not. The Spurs made sure they put the clamps on the Knicks in another low scoring game, as the Knicks fell 80-67. That score is pretty bad for a NBA Finals game and while this series is likely forgotten for the lack of excitement it brought and the low scoring games, the Spurs still seemed to have the Knicks under control in this series and that decisive victory proved it. The Spurs were up 2-0 as the series headed to New York. Could the Knicks regroup and take at least 2 of the 3 games in NY?

*Game 3

-Well this one was a start in the right direction for the Knicks. After a pretty lackluster first two games, they stepped up and took a victory to make the series 2-1, 89-81. Now, Sprewell and Houston both were trying their hardest to keep the Knicks in this, but playoff injuries to both Ewing and Johnson proved to be a factor as both were quite limited in this series. However, the Knicks managed to pull out a victory and hoped to keep that trend alive in game 4.

*Game 4

-The highest scoring game of the series was also a bit suspenseful as I expected the Knicks to pull out the victory, as it was close throughout most of the game, but the Spurs managed to walk away with the final momentum boost and the win, 96-89 to make the series 3-1. Now, with the Knicks back against the wall and the world watching, could they make a drastic comeback and win the title as an 8th seed in the Eastern Conference? Or would the Spurs close it out and bring home the first title for The Admiral and Duncan?

*Game 5

-The Knicks could have won this game. They almost should have won this game. Avery Johnson hit a huge shot to give the Spurs a 78-77 lead with seconds left in the 4th quarter. Sprewell put up a final shot to win the game and unfortunately it didn't go in. If that shot would have went in, the Knicks would have sent the series back to San Antonio and had a huge momentum boost going forward in the final games, but it wasn't to be. The Spurs won win the title in 5 games and the Knicks would go home feeling dejected, but once again, that takes nothing away from the effort of Houston and Sprewell, as both averaged over 20 points per game in this series, with Sprewell averaging 26.6 PPG. Duncan however was dominant in this series and would be awarded Finals MVP with his 27.4 PPG and 14.0 RPG averages. The Admiral played well too, finishing the series with 16.6 PPG and 11.8 RPG. This would mark the beginning of a Spurs run as an elite team that really hasn't stopped since. They've consistently made the playoffs and been a factor in the NBA ever since this title, winning more championships over the years. Regardless, this was the starting point.

Your 1999 NBA Champions, San Antonio Spurs!



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