As nice as it is for the San Antonio Spurs to extend their winning streak with a 103-77 win over the Indiana Pacers with a big night from Tony Parker, it probably doesn’t mean all that much to them with their focus more on finishing the job they couldn’t at the end of last season, while also changing rulers in the Eastern conference.
The Spurs traveled to Indianapolis at the perfect time, with the Pacers in some sort of identity crisis. Talk of fighting between the players and team chemistry falling apart, while Paul George seems to be trying to save the ship on his own. The Pacers have scored less than 80 points in six of their last seven games as the Spurs enjoyed seeing a little bit more of that predictable and ineffective isolation offense that gets worse with every game that goes by.
The Spurs? They keep on holding on strong to their lead in the Western Conference, also having the best record in the NBA, while winning their 18th in a row, a franchise record. It won’t mean nothing if they don’t win the NBA championship, the only thing on this team’s mind, but they’re also picking up these wins by resting their starters most of the time, finishing off the Pacers in the fourth quarter with a 34-18 final 12 minutes.
Tony Parker led the Spurs with 22 points on 10-of-18 from the field, as the Spurs made the best defense in the NBA look confused and without any answers to the movement and the screens that San Antonio are so well known for. Parker kept driving to the basket, and was responsible (Scored or assisted) 18 points on 14 drives, including 11 of the Spurs 25 first-quarter points. He himself had 10 points on drives, almost double his average.
The Spurs offense looked great, maybe the best it has all season. They had an offensive efficiency of 124.8, the second highest in a single game during the winning streak, and their last loss on February 21, the Spurs lead the league in offensive (112.5) and defensive efficiency (96.5). Kawhi Leonard had 13 points with 11 rebounds, Boris Diaw scored 14 points and Patty Mills added 10 as the Spurs also taught the Pacers a lesson or two on what to do with the bench.
Indiana looks sad, tired and fighting… among themselves. Paul George had another rough shooting night (5-of-13 from the field), leading the team with 16 points while they got nothing from their bench. All the great defense we’ve seen from them this season didn’t exist, almost like smart basketball is suddenly too much for them to handle, and their offense, along with their coaching staff and key players, seem clueless as to how to somehow force themselves out of this slump.
The Spurs have a 3.5 game lead on top of the Western Conference, and are close to the point where they can start losing without caring about the consequence. Gregg Popovich keeps talking about needing a slap when you win too much. Others hope that this isn’t a peak, but simply an improvement towards reaching their best in the playoffs. Whatever it is, going up or down, the Spurs are playing the best basketball in the NBA, humbling overrated teams along the way.
Great streak right now, this was a good win for us tonight. To continue the streak, all that is good. We’ll worry about a couple of things, staying healthy, finishing the season strong and hopefully going into the playoffs with the confidence we’re playing with now.