Spurs Back in Good Health, 1.5 Games Back in the Division

And you thought the Spurs were all about defense.  Typically, San Antonio has made its living on that end of the court, but their most recent win was due as much to a powerful offense as anything.  Against the Golden State Warriors, the Spurs put up 123 points, while holding the Warriors to just 88.  Duncan was sporting a new hairdo--of lack thereof--having shaved his head.  Whatever it was, worked.  Duncan scored almost a point a minute, tallying 20 points in just 21 minutes of work, while pulling down 13 rebounds.  In that game, four of the Spurs starters scored in double digits, with Ginobili just missing out with 9.  Everyone on the team scored except for Jacques Vaughn.

The scoring orgy came on the heels of another impressive offensive performance against the Nuggets, in which San Antonio won, 108-91.  Just a month earlier, the Spurs posted their highest point total of the year, when they scored 129 against the Timberwolves.

San Antonio has finally gotten healthy, and even though Ginobili still hasn’t quite found his form yet, the team is 7-3 over its last 10 games, and 11-8 overall.  Ordinarily, that record wouldn’t be one to brag about, but since the Southwest is the most competitive division in the NBA, the Spurs are tied for fourth place, but are only 1.5 games behind division-leading Houston.  Also, Spurs fans must be pleased that some of their wins have been over some of the better teams in the league.  San Antonio has beaten Houston, Utah, and Denver, among others.

As far as the Western Conference is concerned, San Antonio finds itself in a three way tie for seventh place with Dallas and Phoenix, and are 6 games behind the Lakers, who lead the conference.

Ginobili’s return has been helpful, although he has yet to regain his form from last year, where he averaged nearly 20 points per game.  This year, Ginobili has only played in 7 games, and is averaging just under 14 points.  The one player that has really stepped up his game is Tony Parker.  The speedy Frenchman is averaging 22 points per game, as opposed to 18 last year.  Parker worked on his outside shooting during the offseason, and it certainly paid off.  Parker is shooting a lights-out 40% from behind the arc, although he has only played in about half the games this year also.

The two newest members of the Spurs, rookie George Hill, and Roger Mason, have been welcome additions.  Hill, the team’s first round pick this year, is averaging 10 points per game, with three rebounds, and three assists.  Roger Mason seems to have finally come into his own with the Spurs.  Averaging just 6 points for his journeyman career, Mason has been a shot in the arm for San Antonio, scoring just under 14 points per game for his new team, while making almost half of his shots from behind the arc, and 90% from the free throw line.

December’s schedule looks favorable for the Spurs, with most of their games coming against the league’s more unfortunate teams.  San Antonio also has a few chances to move up in their own division, as they go to Dallas and New Orleans.  The season is still very young, and the Spurs have weathered injuries to two of their core players for the second straight year, but are in a great position to win the division.  Hopefully, the injury bug won’t bite twice in the same season, and the Spurs can focus their attention on continuing to develop team chemistry with the new guys, and trying to catch up to the division-leading Rockets, and Western Conference-leading Lakers.