Tim Duncan retires: His link to the Miami Heat

Tim Duncan and Chris Bosh in the 2014 NBA Finals. (Getty Images)
Tim Duncan and Chris Bosh in the 2014 NBA Finals. (Getty Images)

Tim Duncan put together an unbelievable 19-year run with the San Antonio Spurs, stamped with 15 All-Star appearances and five championships, before announcing his retirement today.

The late years of Duncan’s career were deeply entangled with the Miami Heat. He met them in his last two NBA Finals appearances, losing in 2013 and winning in 2014. His closing chapter wouldn’t have been the same without Miami.

It started in 2013, when the Spurs suffered one of the most painful playoff defeats in recent memory. San Antonio was up 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 in that series and had a five-point lead with 21 seconds left in Game 6. Miami rallied thanks to the iconic Ray Allen 3-pointer and escaped with a 103-100 overtime win to tie the series.

Game 7 was a fight to the end, and Duncan missed two shots in the final minute that would’ve tied it. Take a look:

That loss turned out to be the perfect motivation for the Spurs to chase their fifth title. They went 62-20 and got back to The Finals, with Duncan politely predicting a win. He was right, and San Antonio crushed the Heat in five games. Duncan averaged 15.4 points and 10 rebounds per game while shooting 56.9 percent in that series.

[Here’s how the Miami Heat filled out their roster Sunday]

[A road map for the Miami Heat to get back on top]

[All the times the Heat and Dwyane Wade could’ve avoided their messy divorce]

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