The second NBA Tuesday miniseries on this site analyzes the 2005 season with some context for today’s column in tow. We have another dynasty of sorts budding in the NBA, this one with an international roster sprouting from the American Southwest. Think of the global TV revenue that comes from nations tuning in to watch their favorite sons … but we digress. On with the awards show!
2005 NBA FINALS MVP: Tim Duncan, PF, San Antonio (original, confirmed)
A brutally defensive series between the San Antonio Spurs and the Detroit Pistons took 7 games to resolve, with the Spurs coming out on top in the end. Detroit actually outscored San Antonio, 86.7 points to 84.9 points per hame, but with home-court advantage in the deciding game, the Spurs won their third title in 7 sevens (1999, 2003). San Antonio power forward Tim Duncan took the MVP vote again, too.
We have confirmed every Finals MVP since 1989. Will we do it again? Duncan did lead his team in scoring (20.6 ppg), rebounding (14.1 rpg), and blocks (2.1 bpg), while also topping the Spurs in minutes played (40.7 mpg). For the Pistons, it was more of a group effort, with six different players scoring in double figures, for example.
Game 7 was an 81-74 victory for San Antonio, with the Spurs breaking a fourth-quarter tie to pull away for the title: In fact, San Antonio had been down 9 points in the third quarter, too, but Duncan scored 10 of the team’s 18 final third-quarter points to get even as the fourth started. In the end, the Big Fundamental led all players with 25 points and 11 rebounds in the decisive game, so we do confirm.
2005 NBA DPOY: Ben Wallace, C, Detroit (original); Tyson Chandler, C, Chicago (revised)
Pistons C Ben Wallace won the DPOY vote for the third time (even though we only gave him the nod last year, in a season where he did not win the vote). He led the NBA in DWS (6.72), but Wallace and his front court teammate Rasheed Wallace (5.10 DWS) were both in contention here, canceling each other out from consideration. That leaves just a short list of possibilities now, based on the usual criteria.
Duncan (5.75), Chicago Bulls C Tyson Chandler (5.52), Houston Rockets small forward Tracy McGrady (5.43), Dallas Mavericks PF Dirk Nowitzki (5.25), and Phoenix Suns PF Shawn Marion (5.18) are our candidates, and here is the playoff-margin breakdown: Phoenix (18), San Antonio (15), Dallas (14), Houston (7), Chicago (5). That makes Chandler our surprise winner, he who finished 18th in the vote!
Chandler’s stat line: 6.4 defensive boards, 1.8 blocks, and 0.9 steals per game—for a team that only outscored its opponents by a mere 1.1 ppg for the regular season. When you personally stop 9-plus possessions per game for a team like that on your own? You’re taking charge of each game in a way that needs to be recognized.