NBA Heated Rivalries: Tim Duncan VS Kevin Garnett

Mon, Apr 4, 2022
by CapperTek

Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett had one of the most explosive rivalries in NBA history. They absolutely hated each other on the court, and wouldn’t hold back expressing those emotions. So, why did the managers keep putting them up against each other?

The answer is simple - struggle produces greatness. The players were equally matched and had to push themselves to beat their rivals. They forced one another to think of new tactics and smarter gameplay. Although the heat was on, they were burning into greatness. It’s decisions like these that create the most interesting NBA betting lines.

Summarizing Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan spent his whole career playing for the Spurs. In this team, he was both a Power Forward and a Center, and he dominated both positions. 

Although you might think that Duncan was born to play basketball, he only considered playing the game when a hurricane crashed into his town. The destruction destroyed a local swimming pool, which was where his passions originally lied. This horrible climate incident shouldn’t be considered a good thing, by any means, but you can almost see a pattern of struggle in Duncan’s career. 

At every step, Duncan had been put into difficult situations which forced him to become a better player. 

In the end, Duncan was crowned NBA Champion five times, and three of those games were so fantastic that he was given the honor of Most Valuable Player. With so many amazing plays, Duncan has been graced with two NBA League Most Valuable Player awards too.

These awards shouldn’t be a surprise though, as Duncan was known as a hot player from the drafts. Having been picked first by San Antonio Spurs, he proved his worth by earning the Rookie of the Year award. 

Tim Duncan was also the only player at the time to be entered for the All-Defensive and All-NBA teams for thirteen seasons in a row.

Summarizing Kevin Garnett 

Garnett had been playing professionally for three years longer than Duncan, and he had spent time bouncing from team to team. 

Starting off his career with an impressive fifth pick in the 1995 drafts, Garnet began with the Minnesota Timberwolves. After spending a respectable twelve years with his starting team, Garnett began to mix things up. He reached out to the Boston Celtic and played for them for six years, and then moved on to Brooklyn Nets. But his time with the Nets was only brief as he returned to the Minnesota Timberwolves after just two years.

But all that time jumping through teams allowed Garnett to pick up titles, tactics, and teamwork skills. 

Garnett earned the title of NBA Champion in 2008, was a fifteen time All-Star player, has the honor of being crowned Mr. Basketball USA 1995, and was named the NBA Rebounding Champion four times.

Outside of the NBA, Garnett also won gold at the Sydney Olympics when playing Basketball for the 2000 USA team.

How The Rivalry Began

The rivalry between Duncan and Garnett began as soon as Duncan joined the NBA. For nineteen years it raged on, but it started simply due to their similar height and skills.

Both players were great Centers and Power Forwards, of the same height and build which meant both teams wanted them paired up to stop the others from winning. It was a strategy that worked well for both teams and players, as they stopped each other from flooring the court while also learning how to get past each other.

By the time the players retired, Duncan and Garnett had almost the exact same stats in every field. The only expectations for this rule were in the titles.

Garnett won the title of Rebound Leader four times, while Duncan never achieved that honor. Duncan won the NBA league five times compared to Garnett's one title, Duncan won the NBA MVP two times compared to Garnett's one title, and Duncan won the Finals MVP three times which Garnett had never achieved.

The Most Heated Games Between Duncan and Garnett

The first time the rivalry showed its head was in February 1998. Duncan had just been drafted and paired up with Garnett. The match started just as it finished with hot tempers and close calls.

The Timberwolves were desperate to keep their team in the game, so kept Garnett (their best player) on the court for 40 minutes. Whereas Duncan played for 5 minutes less taking the space of David Robinson.

These two young men played as if their lives depended on it. Duncan, in one of his first NBA matches, was trying to prove himself. While Garnett tried to keep his team in the running. It resulted in an amazing display of talent. Duncan finished with 28 points and Garnett with 25. 

The second biggest game between these two was the November 2000 match. Garnett was the team’s “big guy” as almost every play went through him. The tactic worked and Garnett finished with 32 points. Duncan still reached a respectable 22 points too, but he also ended the game with ringing in his ear, as Garnett’s passionate screams didn’t stop all game.


Although the heat got too much at times, it was the challenge of a balanced player match-up which pushed both players to greater heights and amazing statistics. 

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