The last week for the Spurs was off to a good start. The team was in the middle of a five game winning streak, and things seemed to be firing on all cylinders. . .until a trip to Sacramento and a showdown with an ex-player derailed the plans.
San Antonio’s biggest win of the Thanksgiving week was a shootout, wild west style, as the Spurs went up against the surprising Orlando Magic, who lead the league with 13 wins, and are having a great season of their own. On the night before Thanksgiving though, it was the Spurs who had reason to celebrate, as they carved up the Magic like a fat turkey, 128-110. The Spurs are known as one of, if not the top defensive team in the league, but their offensive skills were on display against their foes from Florida. Dwight Howard’s 34 points and 16 rebounds weren’t enough for the Magic, who couldn’t find a way to shut down Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. Parker had 32 points and 9 assists, while Ginobili poured in 27 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists. Tim Duncan added 20 points and 16 rebounds.
San Antonio continued its high scoring act in the next two games, beating Memphis 101-88, and Seattle 116-101. Against Seattle, San Antonio allowed 64 points in the first half, but started off the second half with a 12-0 run, and turned up the defensive intensity to pull away in the end. Parker and Ginoblili each had 22 points, but Duncan was the leader with 26. The loss sent Seattle to its worst start ever at 2-11. Meanwhile, with the win, the Spurs ran their record to 12-2, which is the best start in team history.
Unfortunately, the next night, they seemed to forget all the good things that got them to that point, dropping a game to the lowly Sacramento Kings. Granted, the game was the second in a west-coast, post-holiday tour, but the Kings are 5-9 and in last place in their division! Unfortunately, they also have a former Spur, Beno Udrih, who was bent on revenge against his old team, and led all scorers with 27 points. Ouch! You also know it’s an off night when Tony Parker is the team’s leading rebounder. He had seven in the game. Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 15 points, as the whole team contributed to the clunker.
Anyway, one poor game aside, the Spurs have shown that they can score with the best of them, but should probably get back to doing what they do best, which is shutting other teams down with stifling defense. At 12-3, they have the best record in the Western Conference, and are a surprising 2.5 games ahead of Dallas and New Orleans in the division.