After 10 days off for the All-Star Break, the Spurs had two games this week. The good guys in Silver and Black looked like they could have used more days off. The game against the Toronto Raptors in the frozen north gave Spurs fans part of what they wanted, a return of DeMar DeRozan’s aggressive game. DeRozan scored 23 points with 8 assists in what was probably his most emotional game after the Raptors’ organization played a heartfelt tribute video. But the emotion didn’t help the Spurs pull out a win. After crossing the border, the Spurs played the New York Knicks on Sunday night. What many thought should be an easy win turned into the exact opposite.
Week 19 - A Rough Week Back at Work: In their first game back, the Spurs traveled to Toronto to play the Raptors in DeRozan’s return home game. To say this game had drama is to make the understatement of the season. The Spurs returned to the States to play the Knicks, and a familiar pattern emerged - falling behind early and struggling to dig themselves out. After being down by 23 points, the Spurs managed to pull themselves within single digits. But with LaMarcus Aldridge in foul trouble and the Knicks’ young guns going off at the 3 point line, DeRozan’s 32 points and 9 rebounds just couldn’t pull it off alone.
Last week: 0-2 (33-28) 120-117 @ Raptors (loss); 130-118 @ Knicks (loss)
Tim MacMahon, ESPN - 12 (last week: 12)
Well, that wasn’t exactly the way the Spurs wanted to come out of the All-Star break. DeRozan’s Toronto homecoming ended in nightmare fashion with Kawhi Leonard, the man the Raptors chose to replace him, ripping him at half court and cruising in for a game-deciding dunk. Then the Knicks ended an 18-game home losing streak by spanking the Spurs, who are only a game ahead of the ninth-place Kings in the West standings.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com - 14 (last week: 13)
The Spurs have one more chance (Monday in Brooklyn) to salvage this rodeo trip, having allowed their opponents to score an amazing 124.9 points per 100 possessions as they’ve lost six of the first seven games. Four of the six losses have been one of the five most efficient offensive games of the season for the Spurs’ opponent. Not only were they the first visiting team to lose at Madison Square Garden in more than 12 weeks, and not only did they lose all four quarters on Sunday, but it was the Knicks’ most efficient game (130 points on 98 possessions) in almost five years (since Mar. 12, 2014). They’re now tied in the loss column with the eighth-place Clippers and ninth-place Kings, but DeMar DeRozan’s 360 layups are the coolest thing ever. After the game in Brooklyn, they’ll play eight of their next 10 at home, where they’re 16-3 since Dec. 1. They’ve allowed 9.1 fewer points per 100 possessions at home than they have on the road -- the league’s biggest home-road DefRtg differential.
Khadrice Rollins, SI.com - 17 (last week: 14)
Coming off their worst loss of the season, the Spurs are in major need of a win. Despite being 11-21 on the road, San Antonio is just two games out of the fifth seed. This final meeting with the Rockets will have drastic playoff implications for both squads no matter what else happens going forward. But if the Spurs keep sliding like they have been throughout February, this game and a contest against the Kings on March 31 could determine whether or not San Antonio gets playoff basketball.
Reid Forgrave, CBS Sports - 13 (last week: 12)
Worst-case scenario: Well, the Spurs are in the middle of their worst-case scenario right now, actually. They’re nearing the end of their annual Rodeo Road Trip, and things have not gone so well. They’re 1-6 on the road trip so far, including Sunday night’s loss at the Knicks (yikes). The Rodeo Road Trip might cost the Spurs their season. They could miss the playoffs for the first time since the 1996-97 season. Context: That was Allen Iverson’s rookie season.
With the Spurs facing the final stretch run, are you worried, Pounders? Do the pundits have it right? Let us know in the comments.