The 2013-2014 regular season is nearing the end with just five games remaining. For the San Antonio Spurs, those last five games are as important as any. If it were not for the loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder we would still be talking about the winning streak and the history that this team is continuing to add to the franchise.
It was meant to happen.
Last week, we did our countdown to the playoffs, looking at the Spurs remaining eight games. If the playoffs were to begin today, three of the Spurs’ next five opponents would be in the playoffs. Do not count out the Memphis Grizzlies as they are just on the doorstep. Dallas and Phoenix hold the seventh and eighth spot respectively, for now, but those pesky Grizzlies are clawing their way in.
If the season records mean anything this season, the Spurs first two opponents are looking for their first win against them.
Kicking off the remaining five games will be a rescheduled game from December 2013 that pitted the Spurs and the Timberwolves in Mexico City which was postponed due to smoke filling the arena. The Timberwolves (38-38) are 2-1 in April and 0-2 against the Spurs this season. Scoring against the Spurs has been pretty rare for the Wolves this season. They are averaging 98 points per game and shooting 39% from the floor. For Kevin Love, he has excelled when facing San Antonio. In the two games, he is averaging 28 points per and 10.5 rebounds. As much of a weapon that Love is, I do not feel that he will have enough to pull his team for a win against the Spurs.
Mark your calendars for April 14th, got it? The San Antonio Spurs will be facing the Houston Rockets whom this season has had the Spurs number. Dwight Howard and James Harden can become a nice one-two-punch for the Rockets for years to come. This Rockets team has found a rhythm on the offensive end when facing San Antonio. They are averaging 106.7 points per while the Spurs are struggling averaging just 98 points.
Houston has out rebounded (53 to 39) San Antonio during their first three games of their season series.
Against the Spurs this season, Howard is averaging 17 points per game, one block and 15.7 rebounds. He is not the only player causing San Antonio heartache as the athletic James Harden is on the radar.
Harden really excels against the Spurs. He is averaging 29.5 points per game, shooting 60% from the field, just under seven rebounds a game and six assists.
For the San Antonio Spurs to end their regular season in stride and have momentum into the playoffs, health of course is always on every fan’s mind. Tony Parker will not be in uniform tonight against the Timberwolves due to an injury.
What we saw against the Thunder we can probably see with the remaining teams on the schedule. The Thunder exposed the Spurs with physical play. Their goal was to stop what drives the Spurs and that is silencing Parker. Bumping Parker when he comes into the lane, just a nudge for him to know that if he wants to come into the lane, he is going to get bumped. They did, and excelled at it. This is how teams are going to play against San Antonio.
The playoffs are drawing near, the Spurs have the next five games to put the final touches on their season before the playoffs roll around.