Nik Vucevic turned 7 years old on Oct. 24, 1997.
Tim Duncan played in his first NBA regular-season game exactly one week later.
The difference in experience couldn't have been more striking on Friday night.
Duncan dominated with a turn-back-the-clock performance as his San Antonio Spurs schooled the Orlando Magic 109-91 at Amway Center.
"He's the ultimate professional," Magic coach and former Spurs guard Jacque Vaughn said. "Even when a play breaks down, he's a comforter, a sleeping pillow for you that you can go to. Never count him out."
Duncan, a player so sound and mistake-free he's nicknamed "The Big Fundamental," scored 19 points, collected nine rebounds and blocked a shot as he outplayed everyone on the floor, including Vucevic.
Vucevic, 23, struggled.
He missed his first five shots, turned the ball over eight times and committed a pair of offensive goaltending violations. Midway through the third quarter, after his second goaltending violation, he received a technical foul for throwing the ball against the stanchion.
"I wasn't really playing smart," Vucevic said. "The frustration got to me, and I missed some shots. But, then, on the defensive end, it's not like I let him score. He scored over me. He's one of the best ever. It kind of got to me. I got a little frustrated. I can't have that happen."
Vucevic scored 12 points on 4-of-12 shooting and gathered seven rebounds.
Duncan began the night in a funk even though the Spurs had dominated opponents.
He had made just 39.2 percent of his shot attempts, prompting one reporter to ask Vaughn before the game whether Vaughn noticed anything different in Duncan's shooting motion. (Vaughn respectfully declined to answer.)
But Duncan hit a jumper on the Spurs' first possession of the game and made a layup on the second possession.
Those baskets provided Duncan, 37, with all the momentum he needed, and they helped to frustrate Vucevic.
"He is a very good player," Duncan said. "He is a heckuva rebounder and he has improved his range. They go to him and he is a much-improved player. I respect him."
The Magic (6-10) shuffled their starting lineup because of the absence of Jameer Nelson, who has a sprained left foot. Victor Oladipo started at point guard, while E'Twaun Moore started at shooting guard. Arron Afflalo shifted to small forward.
The night started well enough for them.
Midway through the second quarter, the Magic trailed just 41-40.
But the Spurs took control with a 17-0 run that was ignited by Marco Belinelli's long-distance shooting and Duncan's shooting.
Meanwhile, Orlando's ball movement stalled.
"We gave them the game," Magic power forward Glen Davis said. "I feel like we handed it to them."
Nelson would've helped.
"We miss Jameer," Vaughn said. "His ability to get into the paint for us and get the guys the ball where they need it [are important]."
Oladipo finished with 15 points, two assists and two turnovers. He looked as confident with the ball as he had all season.
The Spurs weren't even at full-strength.
Tony Parker, their All-Star point guard, sat out.
San Antonio (14-2) didn't need him.
Not with Duncan leading the way.
"I enjoy the challenge," Vucevic said. "He's one of the best to ever play the game. He's won championships for a reason, so I enjoy going against him. Tonight, I didn't do a good job. So, hopefully, next time I will. It's hard when you go against a guy like him. He kind of schooled me tonight, but I'll learn from it."
After the final buzzer, Duncan walked toward midcourt and waved to Magic assistant coach James Borrego, who used to be a Spurs assistant coach.
It was the only nice thing Duncan did for the Magic all night.
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