The San Antonio Spurs haven't lost a game in 19 days. Their average margin of victory during their eight-game winning streak is 11.3 points.
The Spurs' defense is just a few hairs worse than the top-ranked Indiana Pacers, who are allowing 91.4 points per 100 possessions according to NBA.com/Stats.
The Pacers and Spurs, both atop their respective conferences, are lapping the competition. It isn't even particularly close; San Antonio is outscoring their opposition by a league-high 11.1 points per 100 possessions, nearly 10 points more than the average NBA team.
But they can be better, according to Spurs point guard Tony Parker, who is averaging 18.5 points and 6.2 assists this season.
Via Sports Mole:
"We're happy," Parker said. "Obviously we want to win games. You don't want to give up games because at the end of the year those games count. We know we have a lot of room for improvement. Also, our schedule is going to become tougher. We're going to play better teams."
San Antonio has only faced two teams in the top third of offensive efficiency this season — Portland and Golden State. They have been outscored by eight points in these contests.
In their other eight games, San Antonio has blitzed their opponents by 101 points in 384 minutes — the equivalent of a 12.6 points each game. These opponents include the last-ranked Utah Jazz offense, Washington, Memphis, Philadelphia and the Lakers. These teams have been very good at not scoring points this season.
San Antonio is allowing the third lowest field goal percentage on 2-pointers (43.8 percent), much of which is tied to their ability to induce mid-range shots and protect the rim. The Spurs allow the sixth lowest amount of shots in the restricted area per game; instead, they funnel the opponent into the least efficient spot on the floor, where they take 26.7 shots on average. They aren't making either shot at a high rate, too.
Having Tiago Splitter and Tim Duncan is also nice. Opponents have made 40 of 111 shots in the restricted area (36 percent) when either big man is defending, according to SportVU. Only Larry SANDERS! has allowed a lower percentage than Splitter (#GETTHATMONEYTIAGO).
And that Manu Ginobili guy. He's having a weird season. Ginobili is shooting just 41.2 percent, which would be a career low. His shot selection is not the problem — 76 of his 97 shots have been within eight feet of the hoop and behind the arc. He's also been efficient on drives to the hoop. The 11-year veteran has converted on 66.7 percent of his 30 drive attempts this season according to SportVU, a shooting efficiency only bested by Ray Allen and LeBron James. He may be due for an uptick in efficiency if he continues to take high-percentage shots.
The Spurs are scoring 102.7 points per 100 possessions, a pedestrian efficiency compared to last season's seventh-ranked outfit. The components of last season's offense are still in place — Parker jetting around screens, while shooters are imbued in open pockets of space — and Gregg Popovich is the head coach. Popovich doesn't typically coach inefficient offensive teams.
Wait, there's more: Popovich's two most utilized lineups have been outscored by 16 points in 92 minutes (8.3 per game). The Spurs' starting lineup, in particular, was among the league's top units last season.
Parker's assertion is not wrong. The 9-1 Spurs have some room for improvement.