So much for the slow start, the Spurs are finally picking up the pace and have played well as of late. Granted, the schedule has been relatively kind for the Spurs but still we have to be a little excited to see that the team is finally coming along.
Tim Duncan is still his usual steady self, Richard Jefferson is looking more comfortable with the Spurs system, Manu is showing flashes of brilliance and Roger Mason Jr. has been a solid contributor off the bench.
And the good news is; this team is not yet close to being at their full strength. There is a lot of room for improvement.
Let’s take a look at some factors that contributed to the Spurs recent winning streak as well as some of the things they need to work on.
Doing it Right!
Field Goal Percentage: The Spurs have held down their opponent’s field goal percentage to 42.7% while they shot 51.9 % from the field in the last five games; an indication that the defense is picking up.
Rebounds: Averaging 42.6 rebounds per game while holding the other teams to 34.4 rebounds per game simply means that the Spurs are controlling the boards with authority.
Assists: Ball movement is an important aspect in a team game like basketball; it makes the offense harder to defend. It may also mean that the players have a lot of trust in each other. The Spurs are sharing the ball well averaging 27.6 against 16.8 by their opponents in the last five games.
Work on it!
Cut on turnovers: The Spurs should give more attention on taking care of the basketball, even when winning they are still careless. The Spurs are averaging 15.4 turnovers per ballgame compared to just 12.8 by their opponents.
Keep the winning mentality: While the Spurs current record is respectable (20-12) right now, they still struggle against teams in the upper echelon of the standings. Before the winning streak, they fell short against a badly depleted Portland lineup. And then after a good 5 game stretch; they lost a close one against the Raptors. That means the Spurs need to be more focused and start thinking that every game counts.
Consistency and staying healthy: Role players like McDyess, Bogans and George Hill have to consistently give that added boost the Spurs needed. Also Matt Bonner and Mike Finley should come back from injuries to provide more outside shooting.
Free throw shooting: The Spurs even in the past have never been known to be a good free throw shooting team; but it will be crucial for them to turn the corner this season. Good free throw shooting will come in handy especially in the playoffs. And just a reminder, the Spurs lost the last game against the Raptors because of poor shooting from the foul line.
Still, it's good to see the Spurs playing better basketball after an early season struggle. They are now near the top of the standings in the West and the upcoming games against the Mavs and the Lakers will tell us more about the teams' character.
What do you guys think? Are the Spurs finally jelling as a team and keep with their winning ways? Or are they just taking advantage of an easy schedule and then continue to struggle against quality opponents? Give us your thoughts in the comments.