The San Antonio Spurs had a good week. They are on a four game win streak that displayed their new version “Beautiful Game” offense and improved defense. The guys in silver and black are gaining momentum and steadily making their way up the standings. Anyone else thinking “from good to great” isn’t far behind?
Week 12 -New Year, New Spurs: To close out 2018 Derrick White continued his excellent play against one of the top teams in the East. He has shown many levels of improved play on both sides of the ball, putting up a career high 22 points and two blocks. For the first game of 2019, the Spurs played a highly emotional (and overly covered) game versus the Raptors and Danny Green. (wink, wink) The Silver and Black also got another win on the “Redemption” Tour versus the Grizzlies.
Last week: 3-0 (23-17) 120-111 vs. Celtics; 125-107 vs. Raptors; 108-88 vs. Grizzlies
Tim MacMahon, ESPN - 10 (last week: 13)
Guess who has the West’s best record the past 15 games? Yep, the Spurs at 12-3. There is life in San Antonio after Kawhi Leonard. DeMar DeRozan, who made his first game against his former team memorable by recording his first career triple-double in the win over the Raptors, is a legitimate All-Star candidate. Jakob Poeltl, the 23-year-old big man acquired in the deal, has played so well (plus-19.5 net rating in past 15 games) that Pau Gasol is having a hard time getting back in the Spurs’ rotation.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com - 2 (last week: 9)
The Spurs (with a blowout win) and DeMar DeRozan (with his first career triple-double) got a measure of revenge on Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors on Thursday. But more important is that they’re in competition for a top-four seed in the West, having been in 14th place exactly one month ago. Since then, they’ve had both the league’s best offense (117.4 points scored per 100 possessions) and its best defense (101.9 allowed). Their success has been about both the starters and the bench, as all nine rotation guys rank in the top 13 in cumulative plus-minus (plus-112 or better) over the last month. Ten of the 15 games have been against teams that are currently .500 or better, but 11 of the 15 have been at home, and the Spurs will be on the road for seven of their next 10 (and 15 of their next 22) games. In each of their four games in their current winning streak, they’ve had a quarter that they’ve won by at least 16 points.
NBA.com also has this on the Spurs:
Teams of the Week
Make It Last Forever: San Antonio (3-0) -- The Spurs scored more than 118 points per 100 possessions in a 3-0 homestand against three top-10 defenses (those of the Celtics, Raptors and Grizzlies).
Khadrice Rollins, SI.com - 10 (last week: 14)
The recent run by the Rockets deserves the love that it’s been receiving, but what the Spurs have done in their last 15 games (12-3) is also pretty remarkable. Now, it has consistently been a better group effort in San Antonio than in Houston, but the lead man in the silver and black this season does deserve more time in spotlight than he has gotten.
DeMar DeRozan has displayed growth in his game throughout the season, and to see it culminate with his first career triple double with the Raptors in town was just great. It was like his ex came by and saw him with his new partner for the first time and realized there’s even more to the man than people ever knew.
In addition to averaging career highs in assists (6.4) and rebounds (6.2), DeRozan is shooting 47.4% from the field on 18 shots per game. That’s the best mark of his career since he shot 49.8% on 6.6 shots per night as a rookie.
To see DeRozan elevate his game like he has is simply splendid. And to see the Spurs catch fire the second their record dropped to 11-14 is simply to perfect. An improved DeRozan is ready to explore life in a new conference while also showing his old team he can do things he never accomplished in The North.
Reid Forgrave, CBS Sports - 11 (last week: 14)
Have issues with the Spurs’ shot selection? I certainly do! I wish the Spurs would hop on into the modern NBA when it comes to shooting 3s; they rank last in the league in 3-point attempts. But this is where we must consider that Gregg Popovich is one of the greatest coaches in NBA history for a reason, while you and me are not. The Spurs work to get the best shot, not just the first good shot, and it shows. This team makes 3s at a higher percentage than any team in the NBA. They may take an abundance of mid-range shots -- the worst shot you can take, according to math, and a shot that the Spurs take at a higher rate than anyone else -- but they happen to make those shots at a really high rate (42.0 percent, fifth in the NBA). You know what I want? I want a Rockets-Spurs playoff series. Two completely different offensive philosophies going at it.
Can the Spurs continue this streak and momentum? Let us know what you think in the comments.