Created Sunday, 28 December 2008 21:59
A month ago, the Spurs were muddling through a mediocre start to the season, struggling to keep their heads above water. As 2008 comes to a close, San Antonio looks like a prime contender to make some noise in the playoffs. The injury problems that held the team back are in the rearview mirror now, with the only players sidelined being Oberto and Mahinmi. Some of the new faces–like Roger Mason–seem to be adjusting to the team, and are finding and fitting into their roles.
On Christmas day, Mason occupied a role usually reserved for one of the teams Big Three–otherwise known as ‘Go-To-Guy’. Playing Phoenix usually means that something strange will happen, and Mason’s three at the buzzer was the latest occurrence in this bitter series. The Spurs trailed for the majority of the game, but managed to stay within striking distance. That was all Mason needed.
Memphis is not a good team, but rookie OJ Mayo is a real player, looking to turn the Grizzlies’ fortunes around. In the latest game against the Spurs, they almost did just that. The game went into double overtime, and the Spurs had to play the second OT period without Duncan, who fouled out. Luckily for San Antonio, Tony Parker was still in the game, and scored almost all of the team’s points on his way to scoring 32. Michael Finley added the defense by blocking Memphis’ final shot to seal the victory.
The month of December has been a good one for San Antonio, and the team has gone 11-3 so far, with one game against Milwaukee remaining. Of course, the Big Three are still as potent as ever. Parker is leading the team with 22 points per game, while adding over six assists per game. Ginobili is still under his average of past seasons, averaging just under 15 points per game, but looks to be getting back into better shape after battling his ankle injury. The acquisition of Roger Mason has certainly paid off, as he is giving the team over 12 points, and shooting 46% from three-point range in 30 minutes of action. George Hill, the rookie from IUIPUI, is scoring 8 points per game, with almost three assists per game, while filling in as second string PG.
The Spurs run has put them in first place in the division with a half game lead over Houston, and one game lead over New Orleans. Additionally, San Antonio is in second place in the Western Conference where they trail the Lakers by 4.5 games. The Southwest Division remains the most competitive in the league with the fourth-place team, Dallas, just two games back of the Spurs.
The month of January pits San Antonio against some of the best teams in the league, with two games versus the Lakers, as well as match-ups against New Orleans, Utah, Orlando, and Miami. At the beginning of the season, Spurs fans were certainly anxious about what the season would hold. At the moment, the Spurs are contenders for the West, which means they are likely in contention for something bigger!