THAT'S THE TICKET; The Spurs are in the NBA Finals for the first time, and suddenly long lost friends are surfacing everywhere.

What do they want?

Tickets.

"Contrary to popular belief, we aren't ticket machines," F Sean Elliott said. "For all the people out there that are going to call up other players for tickets: We don't have them."

The Spurs will have been off 10 days by the time the NBA Finals begin June 16.

Tim Duncan, who grew up in the Virgin Islands, said fans in his home town of St. Croix are yearning to get in on the NBA Finals frenzy.

"Strangest request? A bunch of people from the Virgin Islands want to come down," he said. "Like a hundred and fifty of them."

"I have guys calling, `Can I get four? Can I get five? I need three, the best seats,' " Elliott said. "I go, `Hey, wait a minute, just because I play doesn't mean I can just go get 20 seats.' "

The players admit it's easy to get distracted with all the hoopla around town, and the requests from old friends and casual acquaintances.

"The Finals tickets, you get a lot of people call," G Avery Johnson said. "But that's a good problem to have."