The San Antonio Spurs are doing fine trying to make another “one final run” with their aging/rotting trio, but in order to keep up with the Golden State Warriors, they need to start improving their execution on the road.
The Spurs are perfect at home this season (10-0) with a defense that’s holding teams to just 83.7 points per game. On the road, things are different, with the Spurs going 5-4, and while their offense stays the same, their defense allows 10.7 points more per game, while getting less steals and allowing teams 8 more shots per game. It’s not rare to see someone do better at home – actually, that’s correct for about every team in the NBA except the Warriors (great everywhere) and the awfulness of the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers, terrible everywhere.
The Spurs playing in Memphis is a test against a good defense, but a team that’s struggling to find offensive consistency. We mentioned the Grizzlies are having problems with their lineups while the Spurs seem to be getting better and better with finding what works for them. Kawhi Leonard is the center of this on both ends of the floor, but they’re aware it might take them a few more months before the offense is at full force after LaMarcus Aldridge shook things up a little bit by coming over from Portland.
In a normal season, we might be talking about the Spurs as the best team in the league and of Kawhi Leonard as a dark horse MVP contender. But the Warriors are around, so everything seems to look small and meaningless and especially weak in comparison. Maybe once the Spurs play the Warriors and who knows, beat them as well, we’ll start having reasons to fix the opening sentence of this paragraph.