Duncan vs. Martin isn't actually the most intriguing match-up this evening from a tactical standpoint. How Parker and Hill handle darkhorse MVP candidate Chauncey Billups is considerably more important to actually getting a win. But Martin, or rather Martin's arrogance, has earned him the attention. After Denver's 91-81 victory over the Spurs on November 19th, Martin said, "I don't let Tim do what he wants to do. Never have and never will."
Martin came to the Denver Nuggets from the New Jersey Nets in 2004 (where he was a part of a Nets team that lost the NBA Finals in 6 games to Duncan's Spurs). Since 2004, the Nuggets and the Spurs have played 25 times, 15 during the regular season and 10 during the playoffs. The Spurs have won 8 of the 15 regular season games, making their annual match-ups rather competitive. Come April the rivalry (if you really want to call it that) becomes a tad bit more lopsided, as the Spurs and Nuggets have met twice in the first round, and both times the Spurs have prevailed 4-1. During both series, Duncan averaged better than 20 points per game and 10 rebounds per game. In a sense Martin is right. I'm sure Duncan would have gladly averaged 30 and 15 if he had let him.
I don't have a problem with players talking trash, and in Martin's defense Duncan had a poor game on November 19th, going only 4-13 from the field. Although I don't like to talk about sports in such narrow terms, in a certain sense it is entertainment and verbal jabs like Martin's add intrigue to the game. But, to paraphrase Shaquille O'Neal, Martin has broken big-man pecking order code 2257. Martin's on-court accomplishments are in no way substantial enough for him to talk smack about the greatest power forward in the history of the game. The 4 time NBA champion, 2-time MVP takes on the 03-04 Eastern Conference All-Star team backup power forward tonight at 10:30 Eastern on TNT.
N.B. Tim Varner thought this was relevant.