All Star weekend is over and boy was it fun to watch. There was so much to enjoy over the weekend. Gary Neal and Dejuan Blair both having good games in the rookie challenge. Blake Griffin jumping over a car to win an entertaining dunk contest. Rihanna. All good things to go home with. Now that the season has resumed, teams are starting to buckle down in preparations for the playoffs. The Spurs are no different. Even with their amazing 46-10 record, there should be a push to finish the season strong. But I wonder how strong this push will actually be. Can the strong start actually hurt their record after the break? Am I crazy for even thinking this as a possibility? Maybe, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't jump with me anyway.
I know what you're probably thinking, "bj1der are you crazy? There's no way the Spurs don't storm to the finish line into the playoffs. How on earth could a good record hurt the team moving forward? What the heck does bj stand for anyway?" Well aren't we all a bit crazy? And I think Hipuks might have an answer to that last one but let me try to address the other.
Usually the Spurs have an outstanding record after the break and roll into the playoffs with good momentum. Usually. They also, usually, don't have the best record in the league at this point and even when they did, it was never this good. Remember all the talking we used to do about how we loved the fact that we were under the radar and no one seemed to care about us? Yea well that's long gone. And, like Roger Mason's jump shot, it's not coming back any time soon. As a result, teams know who we are and they know that we're not still the old, boring, change the channel to a Laker game type Spurs team (even thought they would still probably change the channel). Not to mention the fact that we're the best team in the league, by far, and every other team wants to beat us to "see where they are at." That's why teams like Philly and NYC, who we should easily beat in our sleep, could beat us because they play out of their minds against us. This could be problematic and cause us to lose more games than we should over the next 26 games.
A lot of teams are fighting for spots in the playoffs and they all want to knock us down from the top. The teams that are at the bottom want to beat us to give themselves confidence and the teams on the top want to take our first place away from us. Even though we have a 4.5 game lead for best record in the league, teams like Dallas, Boston and Miami aren't giving us any slack with the way they keep winning. The Spurs have a bullseye on their back the size of Texas and teams are already aiming down their sights at it. We can't afford many losses or teams will be breathing down our necks like your boss does when you take an extended lunch break. Being under the radar certainly had it's advantages.
Yea yea, I know, "Why so negative bj1der? Where's your team spirit? Have some faith in your team man!!" Well, text in quotation marks, if you would wait a while I was getting there. Patience is a virtue after all, whatever that is. This bullseye on our back could actually turn into a good thing in the long run. We know that, from this point forward, every team we face will give us their very best effort, playoff type effort, all in an attempt to grab wins against us. What better way is there to prepare for the playoffs than to play against playoff caliber effort every time we play. Regardless of if we play against playoff teams or not, getting used to playing games in which the other team gives 100% effort each time is a great way to get us prepared for the playoffs. It forces us to get into the habit of matching that effort and intensity. So make sure your heart is in proper working order and all you drinkers out there might want to stock up because the final stretch of games could be quite a thrill ride.
The Spurs are a good team. There, I said it. You happy now? Manu, Tim and Tony lead a team of experienced players who all know how to get the job done. And last time I checked Gregg Popovich is still the coach so I'm pretty sure the team will know what needs to be done to be ready for the post-season. As sad as it is that we couldn't land Carmelo Anthony or pick up some good talent for these guys, I think we'll be fine settling with our team as it is. And, as it is, this team is built for the playoffs, (You hear that Mark Cuban? Built for the Playoffs.) which is why the record that they have earned so far in the regular season is so amazing. With the season coming to a close, it wouldn't be a surprise to see this team shape up into playoff form and really show the league what they're capable of. That would be fun.
So we have 26 games left to play before the real season starts and a lot of people have a lot of different predictions on how many wins will come from those 26 games. Some people think 64 wins is what the Spurs would end the regular season at while others....not so much (4-22 is what we have to go in order to reach Mr. Simmons' lofty expectations)
While I don't think that the team would start tanking going into the playoffs, I do think that there's a possibility that we lose more games than we probably should. That's just my opinion of course. If you don't like it then sue me. If you don't want to sue me then bake me a cookie. Your call.
26 games left. What do you guys think the record in those 26 games will be?