Before the NBA All-Star break, it was a common belief that the San Antonio Spurs' window for winning one last title for Tim Duncan was beginning to close. Media members were pointing to the poor record the team had against the elite teams during the first half of the season as proof.
Now with recent victories over the Los Angeles Clippers, Portland Trailblazers, and the defending champion Miami Heat, our friends on ESPN’s First Take are discussing how the Spurs are back!!!!!!!!!
In reality, the change of tune shows pitfall of looking at the record without the proper context.
While no one disagrees that the Spurs did struggle against the elite teams during the first half of the season, the Spurs played many games without having the “Big Three” of Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker on the floor together. Along with other core players missing games like Tiago Splitter and Kawhi Leonard.
The notion that all teams face injuries is valid, but diminishing a team’s overall performance with critical pieces missing seems foolish.
A closer look needs to be made at the coaching style of the head coach Gregg Popovich as well. He has always been a big picture guy, who realizes that titles are not won before the All-Star break. He is more than willing to concede a game that has gotten out of hand; no matter the opponent if it meant he could keep his stars fresh for the playoffs. Last season’s NBA Finals were a good example. Popovich was not shy on calling off the dogs in the middle of the fourth quarter in order to ensure the “Big Three” were fresh for the next game.
With the consistency and success the organization has enjoyed, they are not likely to deviate from the blueprint after a few losses no matter how stormy the seas may get.
While it's no accident big wins have come as several Spurs players have transitioned from suits to jerseys and shorts, the media measuring up how the Spurs play against top teams really won't matter until 82 games have been played.