The San Antonio Spurs had a nice four game winning streak going, until they went out west to face the Lakers for the second time this month. Earlier in the month, the Spurs beat the Lakers in San Antonio on a last second shot by Roger Mason to eek out a 112-111 victory over the defending Western Conference Champs. This time, in LA, there would be no heroics, and the Spurs left with a 14 point loss. It really wasn't that close. A 10-2 LA run to start the 4th quarter boosted the lead to 21 points and both teams threw in the towel, sitting down their stars for the remainder.
February always marks a strange time in the season for the Spurs, as their home city and arena is taken over for the annual rodeo. The game against LA marks the first game in a one-month road trip that will take them to all corners of the US and Canada. The team will play 12 consecutive road games during that period.
Currently, the Spurs are in first place in the Southwest Division, holding onto a slim, one game lead over New Orleans. As has been all year, the Southwest Division remains the most competitive in the league with just 4.5 games separating the top 4 teams. Overall, in the Western Conference, the Spurs remain 5 games behind Los Angeles.
Looking at San Antonio's record, the Spurs are 17-7 at home, and 13-7 on the road. The only teams with better road records are LA, Boston, and Orlando, so if San Antonio can run through this gauntlet relatively unscathed, they will be in a prime position to win their division, and challenge LA for the West. The next few games will be tough ones. San Antonio plays, in order: Phoenix, New Orleans, Golden State, Denver, and Boston, to star off the trip.
Now is as good a time as any to look at some of the teams stats to see how they match up against the rest of the league.
The Spurs are 2nd in the league in 3 point percentage, trailing only the Magic
8th in the league in FG%
22nd in the league in total rebounds per game
2nd in the league in fewest turnovers, trailing only Detroit
7th in the league in assists
21st in points scored
Surprisingly, the Spurs are dead last in the league with steals per game. A shocking statistic for one of the best defensive teams year in and year out.
The Spurs are also dead last in offensive rebounds, but are 8th in defensive rebounds.
In the second, and most recent game in their road trip, San Antonio faced the always tough Utah Jazz, and came away 106-100 winners. Although the Spurs didn't have an answer for Ronnie Brewer (24 points on 8-11 shooting), neither did the Jazz have an answer for Ginobili. The Argentine saved the best for last, and saved his team in the process. Ginobili made all 8 free throws in the final period, and scored 10 of his 13 points in the 4th.
The starters for both teams did all the damage in the game, with Ginobili being the only reserve to score in double digits. Aside from Manu's 13 points, the rest of the Spurs bench only managed 12. Utah's was worse, however, only managing 6 points.
Tony Parker and Tim Duncan led all scorers with 24 points each.