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Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Greg Ostertag's Legendary Domination of Tim Duncan


It has been the best line of summer league. Maurice Cheeks has used it. P.J. Carlesimo has used it. Every journalist here, practically, has quoted it.

It's a story about how great players can have terrible games in their first summer league. And the story is that Greg Ostertag killed Tim Duncan in his first summer league appearance.

I linked to such a quote, from Cheeks, the other day, and enterprising TrueHoop reader Cyn spent a day at the library going through old newspaper stories proving Cheeks wrong.

Cyn writes:

As for Ostertag 'killing' TD ... that's a matter of opinion.

Certainly the Utah team killed the combined summer league team of the Spurs and 76ers, as the final score was Jazz 85 and Spurs/76ers 59. Ouch.

Ostertag was a second year player. The article describes Ostertag as going up to slam a dunk on Duncan, but he hit the back rim instead.

Ostertag did block some of Tim's shots. The article doesn't specify how many but Ostertag had six blocks in the game.

Anyway, here are the boxscore lines from both players:

Tim fouled out of the game getting his sixth foul at 2:52 of the fourth quarter. Maurice Cheeks got the game wrong (fifth not first) and while 'killed' might be harsh; Ostertag did get the better of Tim.

I appreciate the legwork, Cyn.

This story has been used to laugh off performances like Kevin Durant's 4 for 19 in his second game. I'm not worried about Kevin Durant's future. But I am worried about using a tale of a player who shot 60% from the floor to explain a player who shot 21%.

UPDATE: Tim Duncan spoke about that experience with Slam's Lang Whitaker: "Jermaine (O'Neal) destroyed me. He was with Portland, was real young ... and Tag threw my stuff into the first couple of rows a few times."