It is hard to imagine that after the heart-breaking NBA Finals loss to the Miami Heat, the San Antonio Spurs would be sitting atop the league standings.
But here they are.
Danny Green had a career-high 33 points as the Spurs rallied from a 21-point deficit to defeat the Phoenix Suns 112-104 at the AT&T Center on Friday night to clinch the NBA’s best record.
“It’s a big plus,” Green said. “It’s not something we were focused on, but we know it will help us. We’ll be at home for most of the playoffs. The biggest thing for us is to stay healthy and to build chemistry. Winning games in the process helps and we get home-court advantage. That’s just the extra bonus for us.”
Tony Parker returned to the lineup after missing two games with a back injury and finished with 18 points. Kawhi Leonard scored 18 points and Marco Belinelli chipped in 12.
After going down by 21 points in the first half, San Antonio outscored Phoenix 37-19 in the third quarter to take the lead into the fourth.
Eric Bledsoe led the Suns with 30 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Gerald Green scored 27 points, Markieff Morris added 20 points and Channing Frye had 13 for Phoenix (47-32), who fell into a tie with the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
“They’re a good team, it doesn’t matter who they put out there, they play hard,” Phoenix head coach Jeff Hornacek said. “You know other guys want to step up and we let guys get going. Danny Green, we couldn’t stop him. Tony Parker in the third was great. They played better than we did.”
The Suns will likely need to win their remaining games if they have any hope of making the playoffs.
“We don’t have much choice; our season is on the line,” Bledsoe said.
After the Suns took a 98-97 lead, Leonard and Belinelli hit back-to-back three-pointers to put the Spurs on top for good.
The Spurs are now 62-18 on the season and will return to the court on Monday when they travel to Houston to square off with James Harden and the Rockets at 7 p.m. at Toyota Center.
(Quotes via NBA.com & San Antonio Express-News)