Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Why The San Antonio Spurs May Go All the Way to the NBA Championship

The San Antonio Spurs are the NBA's first team to 40 wins this season.  In their 40th win, Manu Ginobili scored 22 points and the Spurs beat the Houston Rockets 108-95 on Saturday night.
The Spurs reached 40 wins in just 47 games, tying the record for the sixth fewest games needed to reach 40 wins in NBA history. They got there faster than the four-time NBA champions ever have before. 
Of the previous seven teams to reach 40 wins in 47 games or fewer, six went on to win the NBA title.  The last time the Spurs were the first NBA team to reach 40 wins was the 2004-05 season, when they went on to win the NBA title.  The Spurs won their 18th straight home game, extending the longest home winning streak in the NBA this season.  The Spurs moved two wins from tying the franchise record of 20 straight home wins, set during the 1989-90 season.  

"We were in the game all they way into the third quarter. But they were too solid. They are too solid," Scola said. "Most solid team in the NBA. They're the best team in the NBA, period."
--Luis Scola, Houston Rockets.  

Next up is their annual Rodeo Road Trip, a nine-game stretch of road games.  Maybe three weeks on the road will make things more challenging.

So, what makes the Spurs so good?  

Spurs Pride

"I'm just speechless right now," said Spurs center DeJuan Blair, who had 14 points and 12 rebounds. "Because it's just such an honor to be on this team, on this quest for greatness, and we've just got to keep it going."

Continuous Improvement Mentality

"No coach or team thinks in terms of happy or comfort, those are not words that exist. You keep competing, executing, and trying to improve. It doesn't matter if you have the best record or the worst record."
--Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs head coach.

Fundamental, Mistake Free Basketball

"They don't beat themselves. We were right there with them for a half and we were playing pretty good basketball.The lull that we had in the third quarter where we just couldn't answer any of their three's and their big shots create separation. We were playing from behind and it's tough because they don't make any mistakes to allow you to get back into the game. Tonight was a pretty classic textbook Spurs victory."
--Shane Battier, Houston Rockets veteran.


“We’ve never been one to say, ‘Hey, we’re on the road, we’ll wait till we get back home to win games.  But in this respect, we’ve got so many of them in a row on the road, I think it is all about our focus and trying to get those games, those wins and put them in our pocket and try to become a better team on that trip.”
--Tim Duncan, Spurs veteran.  

Emphasis on Defense

“It’s goal No. 1 all the time and we’ve been a little lacking on it,” Duncan said. “We’ve been winning and that’s been great, but it comes down to the end of the season and the playoffs, we want to be the best defensively as possible. That’s our best chance to win games in those situations. We have to keep working on that and we will, obviously Pop is not going to let up on that.”

Excerpts from projectSpurs.com, SportingNews.com  and ESPN.com (January 31, 2011).

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