"They're feeling a few bumps and bruises, but they're character guys. They're professionals, and they know what's expected of them. They know where they want to be at the end of the year and they're working towards that. So no game can be left without trying to get better."
--Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of the lengthy trip that started in Portland and which will end in Chicago this Thursday.
"We just have to stay focused, that's going to be the main thing for us. Focus on defense, we have a lot of room for improvement. Even if I think we're on the right track, I think we can do a lot of stuff better and we just have to stay motivated because we have to get all those wins and make sure we take advantage of our good start."
--Tony Parker, Spurs' point guard (13 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists).
Despite many blow-out games and the league's best record, the Spurs don't seem to be experiencing complacency.
"I was kind of shocked, not that we won or we played well, but that at the kind of effort and hustle in the third and fourth quarter. We played hard and rotated very well, went hard to the rebounds so it was a very complete second half for us."
--Manu Ginobili, veteran Spurs player.
Ironically, the game also benefited their opponent, the losing New Jersey Nets, who came away with a glimpse of how a good team should play.
"They've been doing it for years. They've been playing together for years. They know one another extremely well. They are battle tested. What makes them so impressive is they don't really care who scores. They move the ball and whoever gets the open shot, so be it. That's what makes them so good."
--Devin Harris, Nets' point guard.
"This is a terrific team we played. They have the best record in the league for a reason. They don't beat themselves. They're pros. They go about their business and they're very methodical in their approach."
--Avery Johnson, the Nets' head coach, who is trying to rebuild the Nets, who had the NBA's worst record last season.
So, what are the secrets to the Spurs' success? What keeps the Spurs' playing at a peak level all season long?
- Professional attitude
- Continuous improvement mentality
- Sense of urgency
- Consistent focus
- Continuity of talent and personnel
- Heightened motivation
These traits should serve the Spurs well the rest of the regular season and into the playoffs.
Excerpts from ESPN.com (February 14, 2011)