The last week and a half have given Spurs fans some hope that maybe the guys in Silver and Black are revving the engine for the playoff push. Two wins at home with a road win sandwiched in between has produced some momentum at just the right time. Currently sitting tied with the Los Angeles Clippers for 7/8 (with a daily yo-yo switch between the two teams), the Spurs can’t afford to drop anything. This week had strong wins against two top tier teams in the Denver Nuggets and the Milwaukee Bucks and a much needed road win against the tough Atlanta Hawks.
Week 21 - Streaking at the right time: On a night when Derrick White made history with his 11 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 blocks, only the 25th time someone has posted those numbers (the lone Spur to do so), the Spurs found their defensive mojo with three huge stops to close out the game. But White wasn’t done showing off. The Hawks game saw White matched up with rookie of the year candidate Trae Young, but he still managed to pull out 6 blocks (a feat that even impressed LaMarcus Aldridge). The Silver and Black, in their much-maligned dark camo uniforms then faced the league-leading Bucks. After the Clippers win over the Thunder put the Spurs statistically in 8th, the Spurs needed a win. After starting off slowly, the guys fought their way back to overcome the Greek Freak (and settling into 7th again).
Last week: 3-0 (38-29) 104-103 vs. Nuggets; 111-104 @ Hawks; 121-114 vs. Bucks
Tim MacMahon, ESPN - 10 (last week: 11)
The Spurs’ roller-coaster season continued with a five-game winning streak on the heels of a 1-7 rodeo trip. That matches San Antonio’s longest winning streak of the season. LaMarcus Aldridge (26.8 points, 55.6 field goal percentage) and DeMar DeRozan (20.2 points, 52.4 field goal percentage) have both been in great grooves during the Spurs’ run.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com - 11 (last week: 13)
After their brutal rodeo trip, the Spurs have won five straight games, a streak that includes four wins over teams with winning records and ... a road win! LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan have combined to shoot 54 percent during the streak, Aldridge has as many 3-pointers (three) over the last three games as he had over the previous two months, and the Spurs have now won 10 of the last 12 games in which Derrick White has played, but their best minutes continue to come from the bench. They’ve outscored their opponents by 43 points in 82 minutes with Patty Mills and Marco Belinelli on the floor together over the streak. Former Spur Pau Gasol was a minus-20 in less than 15 minutes of San Antonio’s seven-point win over the Bucks on Sunday.
Khadrice Rollins, SI.com - 13 (last week: 15)
What if they get Denver?
Michael Malone is likely going to be the only playoff coach in the West who hasn’t won a playoff series. It would be a real shame if he had to play the coach with the second-best playoff winning-percentage of all time. Especially considering how hot Gregg Popovich’s team has been the last two weeks while gearing up for the playoff push.
Reid Forgrave, CBS Sports - 12 (last week: 12)
It looks like the Spurs are going to continue their streak of making the playoffs. This would be the Spurs’ 22nd year in a row of being a playoff team -- which would tie the NBA record. Considering how bad these Spurs looked a month or two into the season, and considering how bad their defense has been -- it’s the worst Gregg Popovich defense since 1996-97, the year that David Robinson was injured and the Spurs tanked -- just making the playoffs is a massive success for this franchise. Especially considering that they lost starting point guard Dejounte Murray to an ACL tear shortly before the season started.
The Spurs are now 4 games ahead of 9th place in the West (Sacramento Kings). Have they done enough to secure a spot in the playoffs? Are the analysts on track with their evaluations of the Spurs? Pounders, tell us what you think in the comments.