There’s no better time to catch fire than just before the playoffs, and the San Antonio Spurs, climbing to second in the West, have won 11 in a row following a comfortable 107-91 win over the Phoenix Suns, looking like the feared defending champions they should be.
Who remembers that back in February even their actual playoff spot looked in danger? The rodeo road trip ended, Kawhi Leonard started playing like the Finals MVP he is, Tony Parker stopped putting in pitiful performances and everything fell into place.
Since losing four in a row in February, the Spurs have gone 21-3. Two of their losses were to good teams like the Cavaliers and Mavericks. One loss, to the New York Knicks in overtime, has probably ignited something in them which is still burning strong.
Tim Duncan scored 22 points to finish with a double double as he moved up to 14th on the all-time scoring list past Kevin Garnett. It’s incredible to see where Duncan is right now and where Garnett is. Both players entered the league at about the same time, but the difference between their twilight years couldn’t be any greater.
Kawhi Leonard scored 18 points and grabbed 9 rebounds while Boris Diaw got to start instead of Tiago Splitter, missing five games in a row. Gregg Popovich has admitted it’s more of a precautionary measure, and if this was a playoff game, Splitter would probably be playing.
The Spurs are now second in the West with a 55-26 record, waiting for the Rockets, Grizzlies and Clippers, all with a 54-26 record, to catch up, hoping they won’t.
One of the more interesting things in this game happened to the Suns, served a technical foul because they used a player who wasn’t listed on their active roster. Per ESPN: The Suns were assessed a technical foul at the start of the second quarter because G Jerel McNeal was not listed on their active roster. McNeal, who was signed for the remainder of the season Saturday after completing a 10-day contract, entered the game with 2:24 remaining in the first quarter in place of Bledsoe. He played the remainder of the period before the error was caught prior to the start of the second quarter. Because McNeal wasn’t listed on the roster, the statisticians initially listed Brandon Knight as the player who entered the game but later gave McNeal credit