By now, every San Antonio Spurs fan has seen or heard about Tim Duncan’s infamous “Game over” stated late in the first quarter of last Friday’s Spurs-Miami Heat tilt.
A nationally-televised game from the folks at ESPN put more eyes on the court and more cameras in the arena. One of those cameras just so happened to catch one of the most unassuming and quiet stars the League has ever seen mouthing the words “Game over.” The Spurs were finishing a quarter in which they had outscored the Heat 24-4 over a six-minute stretch and fond themselves with a twenty-four-point lead after twelve minutes of play. Seemed the Spurs’ star may have had a point, and the fact that it was Tim Duncan issuing the proclamation made it more than newsworthy.
What ESPN and the audience wasn’t aware of was the origin of the remark.
Prior to playing the Cavaliers in Cleveland last Wednesday, Spurs players found themselves in a debate: Matt Bonner or Gary Neal? Duncan and Jefferson had drawn a line in the sand and weren’t budging, Duncan being convinced Bonner was the best shooter on the team, Jefferson adamant it was Neal. The players were at a point they wanted it settled on the court. A 3-point contest was looking to be in the cards—enter the Miami Heat.
The debate still fresh in their mind after a day between the Cavaliers and Heat game, Duncan had seen enough late in the first quarter Friday. The Spurs were on fire, but none more so than the Red Rocket. Bonner opened the game 4-4 from the 3-point line and the shots were so pure they barely touched net.
A break in the action had the Spurs returning to the bench. The Spurs were rolling—Matt Bonner, en fuego. Duncan awaiting, taking his customary breather, Jefferson found himself being greeted by his teammate with a definitive statement: “Game over.” Jefferson smiling, Duncan taking his seat, repeating himself for good measure to make sure everyone understood. He was right, they were wrong … Game over. Case closed. And if you read some of the comments left on the video, it's not hard to see who his remarks were intended for and believe what they were in reference to, when given context.
Jefferson found plenty of humor in the scrutiny and spotlight his teammate’s remarks garnered. But mostly, he was thankful. To hear Jefferson tell it—as he told a small audience at a recent Home Depot event—better Tim than him. “Tim can get away with it,” Jefferson said.
Yes, yes he can. Whether anyone believes the backstory or not.