After their last loss over a week ago, the San Antonio Spurs have won four games in a row and remain undefeated on the road.
During the last four games, the Spurs have seen the return of Tony Parker and Danny Green, two high-scoring games from Pau Gasol, and mediocre bench play.
On November 11, Tony Parker returned as the Spurs took on the Detroit Pistons. They went on to win that game 96-86 with Spurs top scorer Gasol earning season highs in points and assists with 21 and 6.
The bench suffered during this game as only four bench players, Manu Ginobili, Patty Mills, Jonathon Simmons, and David Lee, scored, with Ginobili and Mills scoring 20 of the 29 total bench points.
After dispatching the Pistons, the Spurs played the Rockets in Houston. They shot well from the field at a 53.9% clip. The bench also made a bigger impact than in the previous game, accounting for 34 of the Spurs’ 106 points. Additionally, all starters, except Green, scored in double digits.
On the other hand, Gasol has proven himself as a viable asset for this Spurs team. After setting a season-high with with 21 points on Friday, Gasol set a new season high Wednesday night with 24 points and leading the way for the Spurs victory over the Kings.
The most concerning aspect of the Spurs recent struggles, even in their wins, remains bench contribution. At the start of the season, the bench players consistently contributed throughout the first 4 games. During the first four games, the Spurs’ bench averaged 41 PPG and aside from the loss to the Clippers, in each game the bench scored 40 or more points, the Spurs went on to win.
The decline in bench contribution over the last few weeks is uncertain. Perhaps the return of Tony Parker and Danny Green has something to do with decreased effort off the bench. Additionally, with the injury Dewayne Dedmon sustained Monday, the Spurs bench lost a key player for at least a few contests.
Whatever the case, the Spurs look to improve on bench play and possibly extend their streak to five wins as they go head to head with an improved Lakers team Friday at 9:30 p.m. in Los Angeles.