When Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard are playing like All-Stars, the San Antonio Spurs are very difficult to stop, now up to six consecutive victories following a 117-107 win over the Toronto Raptors that included a scary moment with Tim Duncan getting hurt and heading to the locker room.
He’s fine. The Spurs are also fine. More than that. They’re playing like they always do in March, and it seems like the injuries and bad basketball that plagued them through February and especially their never ending road trip were set in place to make them better at the perfect moment. While teams in the West (except for the Warriors) are starting to feel the weight of the long season, it seems the Spurs are in the perfect position to make a surge up the standings in order to get a good playoff seeding.
Kawhi Leonard scored 24 points to go with 11 rebounds and five steals, and is averaging 22.4 points over the last five games. Tony Parker, also someone who has had his share of problems this season, finished with 23 points and 9 assists. After looking terrible during their run of losses, Parker has pulled off a 180. He’s averaging 24.5 points per game in the last four, which allows Tim Duncan to take it a bit easier compared to before.
Manu Ginobili, another player on the rise in recent games, didn’t play. It still didn’t stop the Spurs from taking advantage of the crisis the Raptors are going through at the moment, which manifests in lazy defense and bad shooting, although at least they were able to come back from 26 points behind and make a game out of their visit to San Antonio. Kyle Lowry scored 32 points. The Raptors managed to make it into a six-point game with 4:05 left on the clock, but that was when their momentum ended and died.
The Raptors have lost four in a row and nine of their last ten. From being the team that’s closest to somehow breathing down the Hawks’ necks they’ve fallen to fourth in the East, only two games above the Washington Wizards and way too far behind the Hawks to make any difference. Soon enough, the Bulls and Cavaliers will be too difficult to catch up with as well.
The Spurs are tied with the Indiana Pacers for the longest winning streak in the league, pushing them further and further away from any fear of somehow not making the playoffs. The Clippers, still missing Blake Griffin, are just 0.5 games ahead of them, and getting to where the Rockets and Blazers are at doesn’t seem too far fetched anymore.