1999 NBA Finals
1999NBAFinals.png
TeamCoachWins
San Antonio Spurs Gregg Popovich 4
New York Knicks Jeff Van Gundy 1
DatesJune 16–25
MVPTim Duncan
(San Antonio Spurs)
Hall of FamersSpurs:
David Robinson (2009)
Tim Duncan (2020)
Knicks:
Patrick Ewing (2008; did not play)
Officials:
Dick Bavetta (2015)
Hugh Evans (2022)
Eastern FinalsKnicks defeated Pacers, 4–2
Western FinalsSpurs defeated Trail Blazers, 4–0
← 1998 NBA Finals 2000 →

The 1999 NBA Finals was the championship round of the shortened 1998–99 NBA season, and the conclusion of the season's playoffs. The Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs took on the Eastern Conference champion New York Knicks for the title, with the Spurs holding home court advantage.[1] The Spurs defeated the Knicks 4 games to 1 to win their first NBA championship.[2]

Background

The 1998-1999 NBA season was shortened due to a labor dispute that led to a lockout. The owners and the National Basketball Players Association reached an agreement to end the dispute on January 20, 1999.[3] The 1998–99 season, which began on February 5, 1999,[4] was shortened from the usual 82-game schedule to 50 games per team.[5]

San Antonio Spurs

Main article: 1998–99 San Antonio Spurs season

The 1998–99 season was the second season of the "Twin Towers" pairing of David Robinson and star second-year forward Tim Duncan. Robinson and Duncan had been teammates since the Spurs drafted Duncan with the first overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft. The Spurs earned this draft pick through the draft lottery due to a 62-loss 1996–97 season in which Robinson had a season-ending injury and the team collapsed. During the 1996–97 season, veteran coach Bob Hill was fired and replaced by then-general manager Gregg Popovich.[6] In the 1997–98 season, the Spurs won 56 games, but were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs[7] by the Utah Jazz.[8]

In the 1998–99 season, the Spurs recovered from a 6–8 start to the season to win 31 of their last 36 games.[9] The Spurs qualified for the playoffs as the top seed in the Western Conference and tied the Utah Jazz for the league's best regular-season record (37-13).[10]

After defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves in four games, San Antonio recorded back-to-back sweeps in the second round and the conference finals, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers. The victory over Portland gave the Spurs their first-ever trip to the NBA Finals.[11]

New York Knicks

Main article: 1998–99 New York Knicks season

The Knicks had a more difficult time reaching the playoffs than the Spurs did. Toward the end of the season, with the team teetering on the brink of making the playoffs, New York fired general manager Ernie Grunfeld.[12] The Knicks barely qualified for the playoffs and received the eighth and final seed in the Eastern Conference.[13]

The Knicks faced the Miami Heat, the top Eastern Conference seed, in the first round. When Allan Houston made a shot with 0.8 seconds remaining in Game 5 of that series, the Knicks were victorious and became the second team in NBA history after the Denver Nuggets to win a playoff series as the eighth seed.[14]

The Knicks faced the Atlanta Hawks next. Hawks center Dikembe Mutombo guaranteed a victory, but the Knicks prevailed in a four-game sweep to set up a matchup with the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals.[15]

Knicks center Patrick Ewing was lost for the series after the first two games against Indiana.[16] In the third game, with 11.9 seconds left and the Knicks trailing 91–88, the Knicks' Larry Johnson made a three-point shot while being fouled and converted the subsequent free throw for a game-winning four-point play; the victory gave the Knicks a 2–1 lead in the series. The Knicks won Game 6 and prevailed in the series.[17]

Road to the Finals

Main article: 1999 NBA Playoffs

San Antonio Spurs (Western Conference champion) New York Knicks (Eastern Conference champion)
# Western Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 z-San Antonio Spurs 37 13 .740
2 y-Portland Trail Blazers 35 15 .700 2
3 x-Utah Jazz 37 13 .740
4 x-Los Angeles Lakers 31 19 .620 6
5 x-Houston Rockets 31 19 .620 6
6 x-Sacramento Kings 27 23 .540 10
7 x-Phoenix Suns 27 23 .540 10
8 x-Minnesota Timberwolves 25 25 .500 12
9 Seattle SuperSonics 25 25 .500 12
10 Golden State Warriors 21 29 .420 16
11 Dallas Mavericks 19 31 .380 18
12 Denver Nuggets 14 36 .280 23
13 Los Angeles Clippers 9 41 .180 28
14 Vancouver Grizzlies 8 42 .160 29

1st seed in the West, best league record

Regular season
Eastern Conference
# Team W L PCT GB GP
1 c-Miami Heat * 33 17 .660 50
2 y-Indiana Pacers * 33 17 .660 0.0 50
3 x-Orlando Magic 33 17 .660 0.0 50
4 x-Atlanta Hawks 31 19 .620 2.0 50
5 x-Detroit Pistons 29 21 .580 4.0 50
6 x-Philadelphia 76ers 28 22 .560 5.0 50
7 x-Milwaukee Bucks 28 22 .560 5.0 50
8 x-New York Knicks 27 23 .540 6.0 50
9 Charlotte Hornets 26 24 .520 7.0 50
10 Toronto Raptors 23 27 .460 10.0 50
11 Cleveland Cavaliers 22 28 .440 11.0 50
12 Boston Celtics 19 31 .380 14.0 50
13 Washington Wizards 18 32 .360 15.0 50
14 New Jersey Nets 16 34 .320 17.0 50
15 Chicago Bulls 13 37 .260 20.0 50

8th seed in the East, 14th best league record

Defeated the (8) Minnesota Timberwolves, 3–1 First round Defeated the (1) Miami Heat, 3–2
Defeated the (4) Los Angeles Lakers, 4–0 Conference Semifinals Defeated the (4) Atlanta Hawks, 4–0
Defeated the (2) Portland Trail Blazers, 4–0 Conference Finals Defeated the (2) Indiana Pacers, 4–2

Regular season series

The Knicks and Spurs did not play each other in the regular season.[18]

1999 NBA Finals team rosters

San Antonio Spurs

1998–99 San Antonio Spurs roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Name Height Weight DOB (YYYY-MM-DD) From
PG 33 Daniels, Antonio 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 205 lb (93 kg) Bowling Green
PF 21 Duncan, Tim 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 250 lb (113 kg) Wake Forest
SG 17 Elie, Mario 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 210 lb (95 kg) American International
SF 32 Elliott, Sean 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 205 lb (93 kg) Arizona
SG 10 Gaze, Andrew 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 205 lb (93 kg) Seton Hall
SG 2 Jackson, Jaren 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 190 lb (86 kg) Georgetown
PG 6 Johnson, Avery 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) 175 lb (79 kg) Southern
PG 4 Kerr, Steve 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 175 lb (79 kg) Arizona
SF 25 Kersey, Jerome 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 215 lb (98 kg) Longwood
PF 54 King, Gerard 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 230 lb (104 kg) Nicholls State
C 41 Perdue, Will 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 240 lb (109 kg) Vanderbilt
C 50 Robinson, David 7 ft 1 in (2.16 m) 235 lb (107 kg) Navy
PF 31 Rose, Malik 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 250 lb (113 kg) Drexel
SG 11 Williams, Brandon 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 215 lb (98 kg) Davidson
Head coach

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Roster

New York Knicks

1998–99 New York Knicks roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Name Height Weight DOB (YYYY-MM-DD) From
PG 9 Brunson, Rick 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 190 lb (86 kg) Temple
C 23 Camby, Marcus 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 220 lb (100 kg) UMass
PG 1 Childs, Chris 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 195 lb (88 kg) Boise State
PF 4 Davis, Ben 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 240 lb (109 kg) Arizona
C 14 Dudley, Chris 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 235 lb (107 kg) Yale
C 33 Ewing, Patrick Injured 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 240 lb (109 kg) Georgetown
SG 20 Houston, Allan 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 220 lb (100 kg) Tennessee
PF 2 Johnson, Larry 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 250 lb (113 kg) UNLV
SF 8 Sprewell, Latrell 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 190 lb (86 kg) Alabama
PF 40 Thomas, Kurt 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 230 lb (104 kg) TCU
PG 21 Ward, Charlie 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 190 lb (86 kg) Florida State
C 32 Williams, Herb 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 242 lb (110 kg) Ohio State
SG 25 Wingate, David 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 185 lb (84 kg) Georgetown
Head coach

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Result

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (February 2022)

The Spurs won the NBA Finals 4 games to 1.[2] Spurs forward Tim Duncan was named the Most Valuable Player of the finals.[19] On June 25 (two years to the day that Duncan was drafted by the Spurs), with 47 seconds to go in Game 5, Avery Johnson hit the game-winner.[20] The Knicks scored 39 points in the second half, and Sprewell scored 25 of them, with fourteen of his points coming in the fourth quarter. However, he could not hit either of his couple of jump shots in the last half-minute of the game that could have affected the outcome. Tim Duncan scored 31 points and nine rebounds in the decisive Game 5 while averaging 27.4 points and fourteen rebounds with 2.4 assists and 2.2 blocks in the Finals.[21]

Series summary

Game Date Road team Result Home team
Game 1 June 16 New York Knicks 77–89 (0–1) San Antonio Spurs
Game 2 June 18 New York Knicks 67–80 (0–2) San Antonio Spurs
Game 3 June 21 San Antonio Spurs 81–89 (2–1) New York Knicks
Game 4 June 23 San Antonio Spurs 96–89 (3–1) New York Knicks
Game 5 June 25 San Antonio Spurs 78–77 (4–1) New York Knicks

The Finals were played using a 2–3–2 site format, where the first two and last two games are held at the team with home court advantage. The NBA, after experimenting in the early years, restored this original format for the Finals between 1985 and 2013. In 2014, the Finals returned to a 2–2–1–1–1 site format.

Game 1

June 16
New York Knicks 77, San Antonio Spurs 89
Scoring by quarter: 27–21, 10–24, 26–26, 14–18
Pts: Sprewell, Houston 19
Rebs: Latrell Sprewell 7
Asts: Houston, Ward 3
Pts: Tim Duncan 33
Rebs: Tim Duncan 13
Asts: Avery Johnson 8
San Antonio leads the series, 1–0
Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas
Attendance: 39,514
Referees:
  • Hugh Evans
  • Steve Javie
  • Bennett Salvatore

Game 2

June 18
New York Knicks 67, San Antonio Spurs 80
Scoring by quarter: 15–20, 19–19, 15–17, 18–24
Pts: Latrell Sprewell 26
Rebs: Latrell Sprewell 7
Asts: Charlie Ward 3
Pts: Tim Duncan 25
Rebs: Tim Duncan 15
Asts: Avery Johnson 5
San Antonio leads the series, 2–0
Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas
Attendance: 39,554
Referees:
  • Dan Crawford
  • Joe Crawford
  • Jess Kersey

Game 3

June 21
San Antonio Spurs 81, New York Knicks 89
Scoring by quarter: 21–32, 25–17, 16–16, 19–24
Pts: David Robinson 25
Rebs: Tim Duncan 12
Asts: Avery Johnson 4
Pts: Allan Houston 34
Rebs: Houston, Johnson 5
Asts: Latrell Sprewell 5
San Antonio leads the series, 2–1
Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
Attendance: 19,763
Referees:
  • Dick Bavetta
  • Hue Hollins
  • Ronnie Nunn

Game 4

June 23
San Antonio Spurs 96, New York Knicks 89
Scoring by quarter: 27–29, 23–17, 22–17, 24–26
Pts: Tim Duncan 28
Rebs: Tim Duncan 18
Asts: Avery Johnson 10
Pts: Latrell Sprewell 26
Rebs: Marcus Camby 13
Asts: Charlie Ward 8
San Antonio leads the series, 3–1
Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
Attendance: 19,763
Referees:
  • Hugh Evans
  • Ron Garretson
  • Mike Mathis

Game 5

June 25
San Antonio Spurs 78, New York Knicks 77
Scoring by quarter: 20–23, 20–15, 19–20, 19–19
Pts: Tim Duncan 31
Rebs: David Robinson 12
Asts: Avery Johnson 9
Pts: Latrell Sprewell 35
Rebs: Latrell Sprewell 10
Asts: Allan Houston 5
San Antonio wins the NBA Finals, 4–1
Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
Attendance: 19,763
Referees:
  • Joe Crawford
  • Steve Javie
  • Bennett Salvatore

Player statistics

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game
San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio Spurs statistics
Player GP GS MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Antonio Daniels 4 0 6.0 .800 1.000 .000 0.5 1.0 0.3 0.0 2.5
Tim Duncan 5 5 45.8 .537 .000 .795 14.0 2.4 1.0 2.2 27.4
Mario Elie 5 5 35.0 .447 .308 .870 4.0 2.6 1.2 0.0 11.6
Sean Elliott 5 5 36.2 .333 .278 .636 3.0 3.0 0.8 0.2 8.0
Jaren Jackson 5 0 19.2 .324 .375 .000 1.4 1.0 1.0 0.0 6.6
Avery Johnson 5 5 39.2 .500 .000 .600 2.6 7.2 0.6 0.0 9.2
Steve Kerr 5 0 8.8 .400 .500 .000 1.0 0.4 0.0 0.0 1.8
Jerome Kersey 2 0 2.0 1.000 .000 .000 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.0
Gerard King 2 0 1.0 .000 .000 .000 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
David Robinson 5 5 37.0 .424 .000 .688 11.8 2.4 1.0 3.0 16.6
Malik Rose 5 0 12.8 .200 .000 .500 2.4 0.4 0.6 0.4 1.2
New York Knicks
New York Knicks statistics
Player GP GS MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Rick Brunson 1 0 1.0 .001 .000 .000 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Marcus Camby 5 3 27.0 .500 .000 .750 7.8 0.2 0.6 2.0 9.6
Chris Childs 5 0 21.0 .227 .200 .500 1.2 2.2 0.4 0.0 2.4
Chris Dudley 5 2 15.6 .250 .000 .333 3.8 0.2 0.2 0.6 1.2
Allan Houston 5 5 44.4 .427 .167 .923 3.2 3.4 0.4 0.0 21.6
Larry Johnson 5 5 37.0 .286 .111 .615 4.8 1.4 1.2 0.2 7.6
Latrell Sprewell 5 5 44.2 .410 .286 .842 6.6 2.6 1.4 0.2 26.0
Kurt Thomas 5 0 21.0 .344 .000 .600 7.6 0.4 1.2 0.0 5.6
Charlie Ward 5 5 29.0 .462 .333 .500 3.2 3.6 2.6 0.4 5.8
Herb Williams 2 0 1.5 .000 .000 .000 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

Broadcasting

The 1999 NBA Finals was aired in the United States on NBC, with Bob Costas and Doug Collins on play-by-play and color commentary respectively. Hannah Storm served as the studio host while Isiah Thomas, Bill Walton and Peter Vecsey served as studio analysts. Ahmad Rashad and Jim Gray served as sideline reporters.[citation needed]

Locally, the Finals also marked the comeback of Marv Albert following his infamous sex scandal two years prior. Albert served as the Knicks' radio play-by-play announcer on WFAN with long-time partner John Andariese. NBC Sports rehired Albert shortly after and he eventually returned to the lead play-by-play role in 2000.[citation needed]

Aftermath

In 2000, the Spurs became the first NBA champion since the 1985–86 Celtics to fail to win a second consecutive title.[22] The Spurs won 53 games in the 1999–2000 season, but were severely impaired by Sean Elliott's early season kidney transplant and Tim Duncan's late-season knee injury.[citation needed] The Spurs were eliminated in the first round of the 2000 NBA Playoffs by the Phoenix Suns. The team went on to win NBA titles in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014.

As of the 2021–22 season, the 1999 NBA Finals remains the Knicks' last NBA Finals appearance. The following season, the Knicks won fifty games but fell to the Indiana Pacers in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals. After that season, the Patrick Ewing era came to an end when Ewing was traded to the SuperSonics. Over the fifteen ensuing post-Ewing seasons, the Knicks have been among the least successful NBA franchises, with only three winning seasons and one playoff series win.[citation needed]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Hot Spurs Wrap Up Home-Court Edge". Los Angeles Times. May 6, 1999.
  2. ^ a b Roberts, Selena (June 26, 1999). "N.B.A. FINALS; Spurs Win Title as Knicks' Dream Ends (Published 1999)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  3. ^ Wise, Mike (January 21, 1999). "Pro Basketball; The Business Of Basketball Now Begins In Earnest". The New York Times. Retrieved May 24, 2009.
  4. ^ "N.B.A. : Roundup – Indiana; Season Finally Starts As Pacers Face Pressure". The New York Times. February 5, 1999. Archived from the original on April 23, 2009. Retrieved April 22, 2009.
  5. ^ Donovan, John (February 4, 1999). "Let the semi-season begin: Expect injuries, intensity and a new champion in '99". CNN Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on June 22, 2011. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
  6. ^ "Popovich Names Himself Coach; Loses to Phoenix in NBA Debut". Wall Street Journal. December 11, 1996. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  7. ^ Cordoba, Andres (April 23, 2012). "San Antonio Spurs: How Are They Still a Dominant Team in the NBA?". Bleacher Report.
  8. ^ Daubs, Kyle. "San Antonio Spurs Head-To-Head Record Against Every NBA Team: The Only Franchise With A Winning Record Against Every NBA Team". Fadeaway World.
  9. ^ Kidane, Benyam (April 8, 2020). "#NBATogetherLive: Tim Duncan named Finals MVP after leading Spurs past Knicks for 1999 NBA Championship". www.sportingnews.com.
  10. ^ "Utah Jazz And The History Of The Top Seed". KSL Sports. May 18, 2021.
  11. ^ "Spurs sweep Blazers, make 1st Finals trip; San Antonio earns 10th win in row, 94-80". baltimoresun.com. June 7, 1999. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  12. ^ Smith, Sam (June 16, 1999). "Knicks Prove Grunfeld Knew What He Was Doing". Chicago Tribune.
  13. ^ Roberts, Selena (July 3, 1999). "PRO BASKETBALL; After 17 Years, Grunfeld Is Off Knicks' Payroll (Published 1999)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  14. ^ Jordan Greer. "Lowest-seeded teams to reach, win NBA Finals: Knicks, Rockets lead list of greatest NBA Playoff underdog stories". The Sporting News. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  15. ^ "N.B.A. PLAYOFFS; Hawks' Long Haunts His Former Teammates". The New York Times. May 17, 1999. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  16. ^ Roberts, Selena (June 3, 1999). "N.B.A. PLAYOFFS; Ewing to Miss Rest of Playoffs With a Torn Achilles' Tendon (Published 1999)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  17. ^ Roberts, Selena (June 19, 1999). "N.B.A. FINALS: NOTEBOOK; Another Injured Knick (Published 1999)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  18. ^ Bembry, Jerry (June 16, 1999). "Knicks evil? Spurs don't care; With Game 1 tonight, teams focus on series". Baltimore Sun.
  19. ^ "#NBATogetherLive: Tim Duncan named Finals MVP after leading Spurs past Knicks for NBA Championship". www.sportingnews.com. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  20. ^ Bembry, Jerry. "It's Spurs' moment; A. Johnson's shot beats Knicks, 78-77, clinches NBA crown". baltimoresun.com. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  21. ^ "This Date in NBA History (June 25): San Antonio Spurs win first title in franchise history in 1999 and more".
  22. ^ Bailey, W. Scott (November 2, 2003). "NBA general managers pick Lakers to dethrone Spurs again". BizJournals.com.