After winning five straight games, the Spurs failed to sustain their momentum against tough competition. Now after 19 games they are back at above .500 with a 10-9 record with a win against the Kings last night. Though it may be alarming, the Spurs are known to make their run in the second half of the season. They usually start slow and then build momentum towards the playoffs.
So this our typical Spurs, no reason for worry right? Besides with new players being worked into the rotation, chemistry and familiarity among the players will probably take more time than ever before.
Still we have to consider the facts. Talent wise, this current roster could be considered one of the best lineups during the Duncan era. Their five game winning streak came against relatively week opponents (Wizards, Bucks, Warriors, Rockets and the Sixers) who had a combined 0.38 winning percentage overall. Only the Rockets are above .500 at (11-9). Not only that, the Spurs played 13 home games in the past 19 going 9-4 at home and an ugly record on the road at 1-5. We all know that to win it all, a team has to win on the road.
Let's take a look at some stats in their three game losing streak to have a better feel on what went wrong with the Spurs and the things they need to improve on to get back on track.
|SPURS' STATS:||OPPONENT'S STATS:|
|Turnovers Per Game: 17.7||Turnovers Per Game: 12.0|
|Steals Per Game: 6.67||Steals Per Game: 7.22|
|Blocks Per Game: 5.67||Blocks Per Game: 5.89|
|Rebounds Per Game: 39.7||Rebounds Per Game: 38.9|
|Field Goal Percentage: .456 %||Field Goal Percentage: .491 %|
The numbers clearly showed that the Spurs have been careless with the ball in their past three games. The defense is also not looking good. Giving up close to 50% on opponent's shooting is just unacceptable. The hustle points (rebounds, steals and blocks) are also indicators on how aggressive a team is playing, except for the steals, we are pretty much even with our opponents in those areas.
But more than that, players need to step up sooner or later. After a good 4-5 game stretch, Mason is back to his shooting struggles. Manu is not yet the Manu that we are hoping for, George Hill is in a shooting slump and Jefferson can't seem to find his rhythm playing with the starting lineup. Though in last night's game against the Kings could be the start of something great for Ginobili and Jefferson.
Also it is worth mentioning that the Spurs seem to break down defensively and offensively during the closing minutes of a tight game. In their latest loss against Utah, Jefferson failed to close on Williams on the defensive end and then Bonner took the last shot with the game on the line. It's a regular season game, but these close games against some tough competition usually prepares a team for the stretch run. Also, the ball has to be in the hands of the team's best players when the game is on the line.
Now, the Spurs will have a relatively weak schedule the rest of December a good chance to right the ship and start planting seeds so to speak. This the time to catch up with the league leaders in the ultra competitive West, the Spurs should not waste it.
What do you think on the Spurs recent struggles? Do the Spurs need to shuffle their rotation? Is it time for the Spurs to think that every game counts from now on? Should Coach Pop start calling this team soft to some what fire up his players and start playing better basketball? Give us your thoughts.