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Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol play one-on-one at Spurs practice

SAN ANTONIO -- Tim Duncan's decision to retire apparently won't prevent the future Hall of Famer from continuing to work on improving his former team.

Duncan made that evident when the San Antonio Spurs took part Monday in their first practice since Nov. 7. The retired power forward suited up to play some one-on-one with center Pau Gasol.

"It was fun. It wasn't planned, just kind of happened, 'Why don't we just play some one-on-one?'" Gasol said. "It was good, very good."

Gasol said Duncan issued the initial challenge.

"He challenged me defensively," Gasol said. "It was a little bit unfair because he's only playing defense, and I'm only playing offense. So his stops count as a point. My scores count as a point. So it was kind of a different one-on-one. It's not like he goes, I go, stuff like that. It was fun. It was good to work on some post moves, get a couple of comments from him after and get a lot of work in the post, which I like. I love to continue to develop and continue to get good at it."

After the one-on-one session, Duncan took to his customary role of teacher, which he did dutifully throughout a storied 19-year NBA career.

What advice did he offer Gasol?

"Just every time I go quick on my moves, it makes a big difference, which is something pretty general," Gasol said. "But you have to keep it in mind at all times what works best. He's a great defender, he's always been. He understands what works, what hurts him and what doesn't. So I've just got to go a little quicker on my moves, be the aggressor, not try to just pound it, pound it, and allow the defense to get all into you. Take advantage of your skills, your footwork and your length."

One of the catalysts for San Antonio's five championships, Duncan is credited in large part for helping to create the organization's current culture. The former Spur announced his retirement in July, but continues to spend time around the Spurs facilities working with the team.

Duncan doesn't hold an official role with the organization.

Spurs general manager R.C. Buford has said the club plans to let Duncan's role evolve as he adjusts to life after basketball, while coach Gregg Popovich has said that Duncan, when he's ready, can serve as "coach of anything he wants."

As for Gasol, the center said the matchup against Duncan ended with favorable results for both parties.

"We tied," Gasol said, laughing. "It's just a good exercise, and a good workout. It was fun to go do it with him."