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“Tim Duncan blocked Shaquille O’Neal and put Kobe Bryant on a poster!”: How the Spurs legend dominated the Lakers in the early 2000s

Samir Mehdi

“Tim Duncan blocked Shaquille O’Neal and put Kobe Bryant on a poster!”: How the Spurs legend dominated the Lakers in the early 2000s

Tim Duncan put Kobe Bryant on a poster and blocked Shaquille O’Neal in the same game, en route to winning a Playoffs series against them. 

Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal teamed up on the Los Angeles Lakers to produce perhaps the most potent offensive duo the league has ever since in its 75 years of existence. They would go on to bring back glory to ‘TinselTown’ in the early 2000s by winning three straight championships, putting the league on a chokehold. 

This however, would come to a screeching halt in the 2002-03 season when the purple and gold would come face-to-face against the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference SemiFinals. The Spurs at the time, were led by Tim Duncan, who would go on to win the 2003 MVP and had already won a title in his sophomore season.

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Kobe Bryant and Shaq had squared off against the Spurs a year prior in the 2002 Semis but would best them in the 7 game series, moving on to win their third straight title. The outcome of a Lakers-Spurs bout would differ the coming season. 

Tim Duncan dominated Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. 

The following clip is from a matchup between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers in 2002. It’s clear from the clip that Duncan wasn’t looking to play around with Kobe Bryant or Shaq going into a season following a swift 4-1 dismissal from the Playoffs a year prior. 

Timmy shows off his otherworldly versatility and sneaky athleticism throughout this entire game but the two plays that encapsulate his game as a whole were how he handled Shaquille O’Neal and the ‘Black Mamba’.  

In the clip, you see Duncan easily swat Shaq’s shot against the backboard and come down the other end to spin away from Robert Horry to have a clean poster over Kobe Bryant.

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David Robinson was clearly in the twilight of his career here but had just about enough juice left in him to catch a lob from the eventual 5x champ. Safe to say that the Spurs were definitively the best team in the NBA during the ‘03 season.  

About the author

Samir Mehdi

Samir Mehdi


Samir Mehdi is a senior strategist for the NBA division at The Sportsrush. Ever since he was 13 years old, he’s been obsessed with the game of basketball. From watching Kobe Bryant’s highlights on YouTube to now, analyzing and breaking down every single game on League Pass, Samir’s passion for the game is unwavering. He's a complete basketball junkie who not only breaks down current games but also keenly watches ones from the 60s’ and 70s’ while also reading comprehensive books on the history of the league. Samir’s life revolves around basketball and he hopes that shows in his work. Aside from work, he loves to spend time in the gym and with his friends at social gatherings.

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