A loss that should have been a win. That game versus the Chicago Bulls could define the San Antonio Spurs’ season. The Spurs have been consistently inconsistent all season so far. Beating teams that many believed they shouldn’t and losing to teams they should have clobbered. That state of play has the Spurs looking at the playoffs from the outside with a chance of actually not making it for the first time in 22 years.
Week 15: DeMar DeRozan has been a STAR, too bad the rest of the league doesn’t think so. (I’m to mad to go there right now.) DeRozan tried to muscle the Spurs into the win column in this one with his 36 points, but with many of his teammates not showing up, he couldn’t. Missing free throws definitely didn’t help. This loss put the Spurs into 10th place in the playoff race in the West, so winning more games would really help. So the guys in Silver and Black did just that against a 4th seeded Utah Jazz. With DeRozan leading the charge with 38 points, Dejounte Murray showed off his defense (blocking the Stifle Tower) and Patty Mills got hot from 3 to get the Spurs a much needed win. The Spurs faced the Charlotte Hornets in what many believed would be a let down game (Spurs play very well against the tough teams and play down - and lose - to the teams headed to the lottery) on Saturday night and it looked like déjà vu. After a rough first half, the Spurs came back from an 18 point deficit to blow out the Hornets in an offensive and defensive show. Here’s hoping the play from the second half continues.
Last week: 2-1 (22-26) — 110-109 @ Bulls (loss); 127-120 vs. Jazz; 114-90 vs. Hornets
Tim MacMahon, ESPN - 16 (Last Week: 15)
DeMar DeRozan didn’t generate much buzz as an All-Star candidate — or outrage as a snub — but he’s putting up statistics that compare favorably to those of the four All-Star campaigns he had in the Eastern Conference. DeRozan’s 23.1 points per game rank third in his career, but his field goal percentage (.538) is by far his best. The only time he has averaged more rebounds (5.6) and assists (5.2) was last season, when he also wasn’t an All-Star.
Michael Shapiro, SI.com - 16 (Last Week: 17)
The Spurs are unlikely to move into a new era until the summer at the earliest. DeMar DeRozan isn’t exactly an expiring deal with a $27 million option in July, and regardless, the postseason is still very much in play. San Antonio’s playoff streak remains meaningful, especially so in the final years of the Popovich era. Marked changes won’t arrive before Jan. 6.
Colin Ward-Henninger, CBS Sports - 16 (Last Week: 15)
The Spurs lost to the Bulls to start the week, but bounced back with wins over the Jazz and Hornets. San Antonio has a top-10 defensive rating over the past five games, a good sign for a team that’s been poor on that end all season long. DeMar DeRozan has continued his incredible scoring tear, averaging 32.7 points on 58 percent field goal shooting for the week.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com - 16 (Last Week: 15)
The Spurs don’t just have the league’s most road-heavy February schedule, with the rodeo trip (eight games split by the All-Star break) set to tip off in L.A. on Monday. They also have the league’s toughest February schedule in regard to cumulative opponent winning percentage. Six of the eight rodeo-trip games (along with their first game upon returning home) are against teams with winning records.
So if they’re still within a game or two of eighth place at the end of the month, they’re in good shape. And they finished the pre-rodeo-trip portion of their schedule strong, beating the Jazz behind 38 points (with 19 free throw attempts) from DeMar DeRozan and outscoring the Hornets, 63-20, over the final 21 minutes on Saturday. The Spurs have the league’s fourth-ranked offense since Jan. 1 and will begin the rodeo trip with a back-to-back against the league’s sixth and fifth-ranked defenses.
Grant Hughes, Bleacher Report - 17 (Last Week: 16)
DeMar DeRozan became the first Spur with back-to-back 35-point games since Tony Parker, and he did it, as he always does, without even thinking about shooting threes. His 38 points against Utah on Wednesday produced a surprising 127-120 win without LaMarcus Aldridge. That victory came after three straight losses, but San Antonio beat the Hornets on Saturday to get to 2-1 for the week.
The Spurs, like Portland and Phoenix, are a solid stretch away from putting the heat on the eighth-seeded Grizzlies. But you can never assume San Antonio will view a midseason trade as the way to close any gaps. It hasn’t made a deal during the year since 2014.
History says the Spurs won’t do anything at the deadline even if they’ve got high-priced vets to unload (Aldridge and DeRozan) and a backcourt logjam that could stand some clearing.
Do the Spurs still have time to turn it around and make the playoffs? Are you starting to come to terms with how the Spurs have played this season? Tell us what you think in the comments.