|San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginobili, left, Tony Parker (9) and Bruce Bowen, right, celebrate with the NBA Championship trophy, Thursday|
The San Antonio Spurs won the National Basketball Association championship with a Game Seven victory over the defending champion Detroit Pistons, 81-74, Thursday night in San Antonio.
It was the first time in 11 years the best-of-seven NBA finals had to be decided in a seventh game. With everything on the line, it was a close, low scoring contest that featured blistering defense by both teams.
Feeding off the energy of their home fans, who shouted "defense, defense!" throughout the game, San Antonio surged ahead in the fourth quarter to win, 81-74, and take the best of seven series, four games to three. It was the Spurs third NBA title in the last seven years.
Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 25 points and 11 rebounds and won his third Most Valuable Player award. His coach Greg Popovich says Duncan can do so much when he's on the basketball court.
"Tim is the factor. He's the reason things go,” said coach Popovich. “If he scores, that's great. If he doesn't, he's spacing the floor [making the defense spread out], getting the ball to other people who do score. He's always rebounding and playing defense. So his complete game is so sound, so fundamental, so unnoticed at times because if he doesn't score people think, 'Well, he didn't do anything.' But he was incredible, and he was the force that got it done for us."
Tim Duncan joins Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'Neal among the only players to win the Most Valuable Player trophy three times in championship series play. Jordan won the MVP award six times with the Chicago Bulls.