Cleat Geeks

Shooting With the Spurs; Back Home!

SpursTeamisEverythingThe San Antonio Spurs continued their great season last Saturday evening, and ended the longest road trip on the season, with a win over the division rival Houston Rockets. Going 7-1 on this 8 game road trip. Still the Spurs season is over shadowed by quite possibly the greatest NBA season ever, as the Warriors improve on their Historic season. But on the Spurs side a little history was made with the win at Houston. Their 104-94 Victory put them to 50 wins for a NBA record 17 straight seasons, which actually extended their own record of 16. Spurs fans again if this season was played next year, this Spurs season would be the talk of the town. Here is what to expect for the final push for the one seed.

San Antonio is still by far the best defensive team in the NBA. The next best defensive team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Are giving up 97.2 points per game which is still nearly 5 points a game, behind the Spurs. Coach Greg Popovich has always had defensively sound basketball teams, seeing how Tim Duncan is piling up his career milestones passing “The Mailman” Karl Malone for 6th all time in rebounding in the NBA with 14,969 rebounds, and becoming only the 5th player in NBA history reaching at least 3,000 blocks. Tim joked that he “had not jumped off the ground since the 2000th block” in an ESPN article.

TimDuncanTim Duncan will go down as one of the top ten players of all time, and in my own opinion the greatest San Antonio Spurs player of all time. Duncan’s defense is a much needed piece going forward with the fight to try and catch Golden State. For the Spurs to have a chance at beating the Golden State Warriors Kawhi Leonard will have to keep locking down defenders night in and night out, but an additional forced turnover a game would be huge. The Spurs are the 12th ranked rebounding team, but Golden State has one rebounding statistic that stands out as elite over the Spurs. Offensive Rebounding is nearly one rebound per game better, 10.2 offensive rebound per game, compared to 9.2 for San Antonio. This stat is alarming. Extra possessions are key to Golden State’s high winning percentage, Center Andrew Bogut averages 1.8 offensive rebounds a game. If Duncan and Aldridge can get San Antonio more offensive possessions, by grabbing offr (offensive rebound), they can chew up more clock and limit Curry and Thompson’s shooting ability, by limiting them to less possessions per 48min(game).
PattyMillsOffensively the Spurs are 6th in the NBA with 105.0 Points per game. San Antonio has recently seen an increase of production from backup PG Patty Mills. Mills has averaged 11.9 points per game the last ten games, and still is averaging just around 20 minutes of playing time a night. This trend will continue as Patty Mills gives Popovich solid plus minus minutes. Center B. Marjanovic has come into his own as of late. He is the teams leading scorer in terms of points per shot attempt, with 1.786 pps. Popovich will have to consider more playing time for the international player, as his minutes increase so does his production. His role could change come time for a 7 game series.

San Antonio is an almost lock to have the 2nd seed in the playoffs. Popovich may begin to rest his players for the playoffs, this is only if the Warriors keep up this record pace. If that happens expect the players mentioned in this article to take the possible extra minutes and “grow up” fast. San Antonio is the second best team in the NBA in terms of record, and most would say they are the only team that could give Golden State fits in the NBA Playoffs. But remember the Spurs play Golden State three more times before the playoffs.
Having a shot at the number one overall seed, San Antonio must stay healthy down the stretch. Popovich never hesitates to rest his players. In doing so San Antonio will be hindered for doing so. Players like LaMarcus Aldridge and David West can alternate and still have effect on the game. Same with Boban Marjanovic, Tim Duncan, and Boris Diaw all three can effectively play the same position and all can benefit without the concept of rest, use the depth of this team to its benefit. San Antonio has a long road ahead of them, and it all starts March 2nd back home, in the AT&T Center against the surging Detroit Pistons.

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