Just seven games from the end of their season, the San Antonio Spurs’ starters still seem to be searching for their niche when it comes to playing a full 48 minutes against great teams.
The Spurs went 4-1 in their last five games taking wins against their possible first round opponent, the Memphis Grizzlies, then the New York Knicks, and the defending champion, top seed of the Eastern Conference, Cleveland Cavaliers. However, they did suffer a big loss in a highly anticipated nationally televised game against a renowned Golden State Warriors team. San Antonio recovered from the loss to the Warriors with a 21-point comeback against the Thunder in Oklahoma City Friday.
While the Spurs beat the Grizzlies, 97-90, Leonard put up less-than-average numbers for his stature, shooting 7-15 for only 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. He put up an even worse performance against the Warriors on March 29th, shooting 35% from the field, missing all 5 of his three-point attempts, and committing 5 turnovers, the most of any Spur in the entire week.
Similarly, Parker’s contributions have been sub-par. While averaging 9.9 PPG and 4.6 APG this year, Parker managed to only average 6.6 PPG and 3.0 APG over the last five games. Parker went 0-4 in 24 minutes against the top-seed Warriors, a game the Spurs lost 110-98.
While a few of the Spurs’ starters have struggled to get into a groove with each other, Green has remained one of the core backbones of the Spurs’ league best defense. Green averages 1.0 steals and 0.8 blocks per game this season. In the 103-74 win against LeBron James and the Cavaliers, Green tied his career high for blocks with 4 on the night. While his defensive contributions have been noted, Green flashed a bit of his old-school 3-point charm in the first half of the Warriors match Wednesday night. Green shot 66% from beyond the arc, scoring 12 of his 16 points from three-point range.
The Spurs could have used a few of those Green threes in the second half of their loss to the Warriors. Instead, their offense crumbled and the defense didn’t manage to provide much help either.
With the season winding down, it’s imperative that team chemistry peaks at the perfect time. The Spurs started the season with a few amazingly in-sync performances. However, over the last month, the offense has continued to struggle at different points in games. The Spurs have seven games and at worst, a second seed finish in the standings to continue to try to iron out their struggles before the playoffs begin.