The San Antonio Spurs recently put together a 19-game winning streak, beating teams such as the Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Portland Trail Blazers and Golden State Warriors as they got in rhythm for the 2014 NBA Playoffs. After staying undefeated for a month, are the Silver & Black the team to fear in the postseason?
During the streak, Kawhi Leonard was the only Spur to average over 30 minutes per game and the Spurs’ big three of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili logged under 30 minutes each night. Head coach Gregg Popovich was able to keep his stars minutes down all while San Antonio kept on winning.
While teams like the Miami Heat, New York Knicks and L.A. Lakers get the most headlines and buzz, the Spurs quietly stay consistent every season. Spurs players may not do flashy dunks like LeBron James but they are always successful. They have a future Hall of Famers in Tim Duncan and head coach in Gregg Popovich who has four championships to their names and were just seconds away from a fifth last season.
Including this season, San Antonio has won 50 games for 15 consecutive seasons. Every year the Spurs are suppose to falter as a team because they are ‘too old’ to grind out the wins. However, Popovich and his team are all about positive performance and getting better year in and year out.
The Spurs have won 70 percent of their games for 9 of the last 13 seasons and are headed for a 10th. This San Antonio team may be one of the best since the 2007 championship team, but even this current squad is winning more than the 2007 team did.
The 2007 squad had a 13-game winning streak and finished with a record of 58-24, while the current team won 19-straight games and currently own a record of 60-18. What makes the Spurs so successful is they have a balanced attack that takes a team effort and Popovich demands his players do their jobs on both sides of the floor.
Even though San Antonio’s core is older, the Spurs front office always looks for little pieces to add around them to add a few adjustments. Bringing in sharp shooter Marco Belinelli and big man Jeff Ayres, as well as Patty Mills emerging as a solid back up point guard has led Popovich to limit Duncan, Parker and Ginobili’s minutes is just one of the ways the Spurs are even more dangerous.
What the Spurs system shows us is how trust and depth brings results. Against all odds, the Spurs are once again competing for a title, and just like before over the last two decades they are one of the favorites.
While Spurs may be older, they’re still very dangerous and may be a team’s worst nightmare come playoff time.
(Stats via basketball-reference.com)