If Wednesday night's 122-111 loss against the Spurs was the last for Dwight Howard in an Orlando Magic uniform, his teammates long will remember what it was like to play with one of the most athletically gifted centers in the NBA.
They'll also remember how 36-year-old Spurs captain Tim Duncan, arguably the greatest power forward in league history, demonstrated once again how the basics of the game never get old.
Shaq was right when he dubbed Duncan "The Big Fundamental."
Nicknamed "Superman," Howard is built like a Greek god at 6-foot-11 and 265 pounds. But Superman fell short against the Spurs at the AT&T Center on Wednesday night.
Serenaded to chants of "M-V-P, M-V-P" by the sellout crowd of 18,581, Tony Parker scored 31 points and dished out 12 assists to pace the Silver & Black. But he had plenty of help from Duncan on both ends of the floor.
Playing aggressively throughout the game, Duncan hit 7 of 12 field-goal attempts and finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds while playing 30 minutes and 48 seconds.
None of his baskets was bigger than the one he made after coming up with a loose ball and banking in a layup for a 110-103 Spurs lead with 3:33 left. It's the kind of play Duncan has made time and again for his team throughout his stellar career.
"I had to hold my own," Duncan said. "I thought we did a real good job against him (Howard). We had a lot of guys in there with hands, trying to make things as difficult as possible for him. He is unbelievable and athletic, so we have to make it as hard as possible and make his shots tough."
Howard, who made 9 of 16 field-goal attempts, finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds.
Howard could learn a thing or two about the game from Duncan, who has won four NBA championships since the Spurs drafted him with the No. 1 overall pick in 1997.
The face of the Magic franchise since Orlando took him with the No. 1 overall pick in 2004, Howard hasn't come close to sniffing an NBA title in his first seven seasons.
Howard, 26, said Wednesday that he wants to play the remainder of the season in Orlando after initially requesting to be traded before Thursday's league deadline, but Magic team officials reportedly are determined to deal him to another team.
The Magic (28-16) are one of the best teams in the league with Howard and could contend for the Eastern Conference title if Howard stays put. Orlando has beaten the Miami Heat two of three times this season and matches up well against the Chicago Bulls.
Howard, who becomes a free agent after this season, should have stood pat in the first place. But that's Orlando's story to worry about.
The Spurs (28-13) finished their seven-game homestand 4-3 after returning from their annual rodeo road trip.
After praising Parker for his outstanding game, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was asked how he thought Duncan fared against Howard.
"As I mentioned with Tony, it's been the same thing all year long" with Duncan, Popovich said. "He's been consistent. He's having a really, really good year. He showed his value again tonight."
Duncan and Tiago Splitter, who had 12 points and six rebounds, tag-teamed Howard and did a relatively good job of making the player nicknamed "Superman" work for every point he got.
After playing seven consecutive home games, the Spurs play back-to-back road games against Oklahoma City and Dallas on Friday and Saturday.