The San Antonio Spurs just can’t stop. When every other (younger) team in the NBA stopped, they kept on going, winning one game after another. With their latest blowout victory against the Indiana Pacers, who previously were the longtime leaders of the Eastern Conference, they now set a new franchise record for most victories in a row, with 18. The Spurs continue to rule the East and the entire NBA and they are proving game-by-game that any other opponent in the East should simply be afraid of them.
Really, it was simply amazing to see the aged veteran group of the San Antonio Spurs routing the young and emerging Indiana Pacers. In fact, earlier in the season or even prior to the beginning of the 2013-2014 campaign, I wonder if any NBA fan truly expected the Pacers to be in such a situation, where they would get smashed by the Spurs.
Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and their company are now considered as one of the strongest candidates for the title. Although it’s uncertain how much fuel the Spurs will have left in the postseason, the certain fact is that San Antonio will enter the postseason with a terrific momentum, coming out of their recent winning streak. No team will want to stand in the way of the veteran group of Gregg Popovich. It seems like the Spurs have found the fountain of youth and nothing can really stand in their way.
The San Antonio Spurs currently have the fourth-best defense in the league, allowing a little more than 97 points per game. But they are also the sixth-best offense in the NBA and they rank first in assists. Really, when you look at San Antonio playing, their offensive flow is simply terrific. Anyone on the court can score, anyone of the court has the green light but also the confidence to at least attempt a shot, especially when he is open and anyone can easily find a teammate, who is cutting toward the basket or getting open for a triple. Talking about three-pointers, the Spurs of course rank first in the NBA in three-point percentage, shooting an amazing 40.2 percent from long range.
The Spurs really owned the Pacers last night. It’s notable that the Spurs had a 10-point advantage after the end of the first quarter, against a team which has the best defense in the league. San Antonio was able to score 103 points, finishing with 34 in the fourth quarter alone.
It’s notable that the Spurs have now managed to silence the critics but also draw all the attention from the NBA world out of powerhouses in the West, like the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers. San Antonio is now the team the entire NBA is talking about and their achievements night in and night out continue to impress.
It’s notable that they now have a 3.5-game lead to the Oklahoma City Thunder despite all the health issues they had earlier in the season. Tony Parker missed 12 games, Kawhi Leonard didn’t dress up in 14 and Danny Green was out for 10 games. The latter two are the team’s best perimeter defenders and it’s notable that San Antonio was able to make it to the top despite those absences. Gregg Popovich said during that time:
“I think that’s got a lot to do with it. We’ve just got to keep plugging here and there until everybody comes back. You just deal with it.”
Apparently, the Spurs found a way to deal with it. Coach Pop assigned more minutes to role players like Marco Belinelli and Patty Mills and the Spurs managed to stay successful. Apart from the offense, which has been in short words terrific for the Spurs, defense has been another important part of their success. The Spurs’ world-class defense is also expected to be a key factor for the team come playoff time. San Antonio is known to play lockdown defense during the postseason and Gregg Popovich is the mastermind behind this.
Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are recording a supreme season, too. Parker is continuing to prove why he is considered as one of the best point guards in the league. He is currently leading the team in scoring, with 17.1 points per game and also 5.9 assists and 2.3 rebounds. Tim Duncan, who, due to his maintenance program, is averaging just 29.3 minutes per game, is putting up 15.2 points, 9.9 rebounds and also 3.1 assists. Duncan is really one of the big factors in the success the Spurs have found up to now. Although his numbers might not cause jaws to drop, his presence is enough to increase the level the Spurs are currently playing at.
Of course, once the playoffs begin, winning streaks and regular season records don’t count much. The Spurs will have to prove that they are the best team in the NBA on the court. They will face a very dangerous team even in the first round of the postseason. The Phoenix Suns, the Memphis Grizzlies and the Dallas Mavericks are all potential opponents and especially the first two could cause some real troubles to the Spurs. Of course, shall the Spurs advance to the next rounds and all the way till the Western Conference Finals, they could possibly meet the Oklahoma City Thunder, which will be a very tough opponent. With Russell Westbrook healthy and at the top of his game, the Thunder are one of the few teams capable of topping the Spurs.
San Antonio definitely wants to make its second straight appearance to the NBA Finals, its sixth in total, and have a chance to win its fifth Larry O’Brien trophy. Their recent winning streak yet another proof that they are capable of achieving exactly that.