Editor’s Note: With the playoffs just days away, today we begin our Playoff Series Preview. We’ll have several posts leading up to Sunday’s Game 1 against the Dallas Mavericks. In our first post, Stephen Anderson takes a look back at the season that was in his 2013-14 season review.
Coming into Wednesday’s season finale against the Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich reflected on the past 81 games for his team, realizing just how far they had truly come. After San Antonio’s heartbreaking loss in the final two games of the 2013 the NBA Finals, no one at the time knew how the Spurs would bounce back mentally.
During the 2013-14 campaign, the Spurs put together a franchise record 19-game winning streak that saw them take down teams such as the Miami Heat, Portland Trail Blazers and Golden State Warriors. The streak would also stand as the longest winning streak in the league for the season.
San Antonio won 62 games despite a series of injuries that forced Popovich to use 29 different starting lineups. Tony Parker led the Spurs in scoring as he averaged 16.7 points per game during the season, which is the lowest among scoring leaders in franchise history.
Spurs fans know Popovich often will rest his players to keep them healthy for the postseason when the games truly matter. He did another stellar job of it once again in the 2013-14 season as no player on the roster averaged 30 minutes per game. Just one of the many reasons that San Antonio always seems to find themselves at the top of the league year in and year out.
San Antonio owned a 32-9 record at the AT&T Center and were an NBA-best and franchise best 30-11 away from the Alamo City. The Spurs are the only team in the league to be above .750 percent in both away and home games this season.
But the most impressive thing about the season that was is the mental edge of the Spurs players after their NBA Finals loss. Everyone in the NBA goes through tough schedules and gets bitten by the injury bug, but to do what the San Antonio Spurs did this season is truly amazing. For the players to put aside what happened last June and return to play in a brand new season with a renewed focus just may give them that edge they need once the Playoffs begin.
On Friday, Popovich and his coaching staff will start to prepare for Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks for the Spurs’ first round series. Get ready, the playoffs are finally here.
And they begin with the Spurs now more focused than ever to finish some unfinished business.