The 18-11 San Antonio Spurs

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The San Antonio Spurs own the league’s best record at 25-4. The Spurs are a good team. San Antonio is a legitimate title contender.  But their record is more than a little misleading.

San Antonio has won two games against the Timberwolves they deserved to lose, pulled three victories out of overtime (one against the aforementioned T-Wolves), narrowly defeated the Bucks on a last second shot by Manu Ginobili, squeaked an early season ‘W’ against Phoenix on an improbable barrage of Richard Jefferson corner threes, and required a Manu Ginobili hat-trick of brilliance to edge the Nuggets.

The Spurs have won a lot of coin flips this season. Seven coin flips, by my count.

Maybe these victories are signs of championship moxie. Earlier in the season, Manu Ginobili took confidence in these wins by saying they were games the team would have lost last season. And, I suppose, that’s all good and true. But the point stands, San Antonio has won seven games this season that could very easily have gone into the loss column.

18-12 is good enough for a low seed in the playoffs, and the Spurs are better than that. I’m not saying they should have lost seven additional games, just that they could have. The Spurs’ point differential is a healthy 7.93. But, in terms of quality of play, San Antonio is somewhere between 25-4 and 18-11.  This team is not as good as their record indicates, but neither have they played to their full potential.

I’ll leave it to you to determine if the Spurs’ glass is half full or half empty.

  • TD = Best EVER

    @ L-Man We can’t claim to have the best backcourt in the NBA After what Denver and the Magic just did to us…… TOP 5 maybe -but clearly not number 1. Denver – Billups, Lawson, JR Smith, and Affalo are pretty damn good……

    @ Hobson13
    +100 – I agree 100% and something has to be done about how bad our D has been. Even if its just not shooting so many quick shots and slowing down some…..

    @ td4life

    So what would you have us do – just resign ourselves to the fact that if we are not raining in 3′s like the 1990 Golden State Warriors that our season is over……. Sorry can’t do that – too much time between now and the playoffs………. There’s no way that POP thinks this team as is 100% healthy gets out of the West……. hell we may not even get out of the 2nd round. Lakers, Dallas, and Denver if all at 100% will be a VERY TALL order for this team to undertake…..

    So if there are no possible 2 way trades. Then get a 3rd team involved. There are BIGS on the market for less than 3million and we have to look into getting one of them……

  • spursgermany

    The Spurs have won a lot of coin flips this season. Seven coin flips, by my count.

    When come playoffs nobody will care about seven coin flips won games, and surely not Pop!!

  • Mark

    I agree with you.

    One of the key indicators is what the strength level of the opponents we played. Check this link out:
    http://espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/powerrankings

    Hollinger only does the last 10, it would be interesting to see the quality of the streak they had as well.

  • spursfaninellay

    It’s nice to get an a$$ beating sometimes. It sends us back to earth, and the bench gets an experience boost fighting it off with a talented team-

  • Kevin

    I think it would be pretty foolish to start making guesses at which teams will do what in the post season. The important thing right now is that we’re setting ourselves up for good things with the record we have. Whether or not we can beat the Lakers or Mavs RIGHT NOW really doesn’t say much about a playoff matchup, anyway.

    We’re pretty freakin good. Injuries to every team, as well as how teams improve during the season, will decide everything in the end. I like our odds as we sit right now. Go Spurs Go!

  • Kevin

    oh… and @TD=BE, give me Manu, Parker, and Hill over Denver’s guards any day.

  • TD = Best Ever

    @ Kevin
    I never said that I didn’t like our guys better….But after what DENVER just did to us – how can we claim best in the league – It looked pretty damn even to me they had 2 guys with 20 plus and so did we……..

  • alfahdlan ocsal

    regular season games is not the same as playoff games. In regular season spurs are phasing their players for the playoffs and let some minutes for the reserve to get the feel of the game that may be useful come playoff time. It is just when the key players relaxed that the opposing teams come back strong while the momentum of the key spurs players would be lost in translation sometime. But a good sign is most of the time spurs have a strong 3rd and 4th quarter still: an indication of a team that has lots of gears.

  • duaneofly

    Yeah, but TD=Best Ever, you’re ignoring the fact that Hill didn’t play against Denver. Just like Denver having Billups out for the first game isn’t a good judge of our guards vs theirs, having Hill out for us is the same.

  • TD = Best Ever

    @ duaneofly

    Hill played the 1st game and not the 2nd – SO ya I did figure that in – And Denver’s guards are just as good and explosive as ours……….

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Timothy Varner

    Gregg Popovich, via Mike Monroe, gets to the heart of what I was trying to say in this post:

    “We’ve got to look at it like we’ve really got a long way to go, rather than talk about any cushion that our record gives us,” Popovich said. “I’d rather think we’re lucky to have the record, and if we want to take advantage of that good luck, we’d better get our ass together at the defensive end. Otherwise, we’ve squandered what the basketball gods have given to us so far.”

    http://blog.mysanantonio.com/spursnation/2010/12/25/mike-monroe-pop-sees-%E2%80%98cushion%E2%80%99-as-illusion/

  • NYC

    @Tim

    So he is going to play defense? Do you know where that statement reported by Marv Albert and Reggie Miller during the Orlando game came from? I’m curious to hear it straight from Popovich’s mouth (that he’s resigned himself to the fact that this year’s team will not be an elite defensive team).

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Timothy Varner

    @NYC, from their imaginations, I suspect. Miller strikes me as a bad source on all things Spurs-related.

  • DRoach

    Well, the Lakers have beaten only one team over .500 at least we are playing better than that.

  • LPspursFan

    The best thing about the great start is that it sets us up with a good foundation to build a strong regular season record and a better seed in the playoffs. At 26-4, we can play our next 52 games at 34-18 (65 percent) and a 60-win team in the running for one of the top 2 seeds.
    Let the talking heads keep ignoring us; good, great, I personally think the guys played better when people doubted them, hence never being able to repeat.
    And a record like 34-18 takes into account the percentages that the Spurs will lose some coin-flip games the rest of the way but generally win the games they should and at least split with all of the “elite teams.”
    So no, I’m not embarrassed that we’re 26-4. We’ve earned the wins, all against NBA teams I do believe, by making enough plays when it mattered. That can only help with confidence, especially since it has been multiple players who have stepped up from game to game.
    I’ll be happy with 3-2 over our next five against Lakers, @Dallas, OKC and @NY and @Celtics (beat LA, OKC & NY, Lose to DAL and CELT, 2nd of B2B.) But I won’t be surprised with 4-1 and won’t be overly depressed with 2-3 (which would leave us at 28-7.) Obviously, Dallas is the big one since they’ve already won one on our court.
    It’ll be a good little stretch of games to gauge where we are at now, and still have 47 games to work on what still needs improvement. Go Spurs Go!!

  • mybloodissilverandblack

    I actually watched that early season Sunflowers game again on League Pass, about a week ago, just for the heck of it. Makes me think of what we’re missing with James Anderson down.

    And as Pop admitted, they don’t have the depth that they want at this point. Perhaps that underscores James’s importance for the stretch run.

    As far as the defense goes, I have been noticing so-so individual effort. It might be best for the team to work on rotational coverage instead of man-to-man.

  • Mano E Manu

    How can people treat sports as some kind of perfect machine, as though it gives the ‘correct’ result every time? Have you “there is no ‘should have’ in sports” types ever rebounded a basketball? It’s chancey as anything in this world: every once in a while, the little man gets lucky and happens to be a few inches closer to the perfect spot. If you apply that ‘tarded reasoning to the rebounding game, you’d be saying “That little guy who just got the board is the better rebounder 100% of the time in this situation” and it’s pretty obvious that’s not true. Basketball, like any other game in which there are infinite arrangements of variables, can’t be looked at in terms of single events. Maybe Jordan hits ‘The Shot’ 75% of the time, but if you re-ran it a million times, sometimes he’d have thrown the ball too hard, or the ref would’ve caught him shoving his defender, or his jump would’ve put him at an awkward angle.

  • irongiantkc

    Mr. Varner,
    Tsk, tsk. Poor reasoning in this blog. You mentioned three reasons why the Spurs record is iffy: RJ’s 3 pt barrage, Manu’s last second shot, and Manu’s “hat-trick of brilliance”. I have often heard this specious argument in the past about the Cowboys, the Longhorns, and now you with the Spurs. “If the (Spurs, Cowboys, Longhorns) didn’t have such good players to make those winning plays they wouldn’t have won those games.”

    Well, of course they wouldn’t. They win because they have good players. It’s not just a coin toss. It’s not as if they rent good players for one night while they’re in town.

    “San Antonio has won two games against the Timberwolves they deserved to lose”.

    No. Unless the refs are betting on the game and making calls against one team (I’d like to say that’s impossible, but I can’t), the team that has the most points by the end of the game is the one that deserved to win. As a Horns fan, I even fell for this fallacy last year during the NC game. “The Horns should have won that game. If only McCoy hadn’t been injured…” Truth is, he was and they didn’t. The Spurs have deserved every win and every loss they’ve earned this year. (Even the SEGABABAS)

  • kornbread

    This blog has reached a whole new level of stupid.

    The team’s record indicates that they have played well. I’ve watched most of their games and I can tell you that is the case.

    Is there room for improvement? Yes, more so on the defensive end.

    In regards to the comment that Reggie Miller is not a reliable source; that’s funny because ESPN often uses this site (yes, this site) as a source.

    I think it’s obvious that this team doesn’t have the personnel to be an elite defensive team. They don’t have a Robinson, and Duncan isn’t quick enough any more to play that role.

    They can still be a good defensive team. Their biggest problem right now is finishing a defensive stance and securing the rebound. If they quit giving up second chance points, it would be obvious how much better their depth is.

    And that was their problem last year. By the time the second round of the playoffs came around, they couldn’t hold leads. A guy like Anderson can really help, and Splitter working his way to more minutes will also help. That extra size will go a long way.

    Please don’t apologize for the effort that this team is showing. The Spurs may not have the depth of the lakers, celtics, magic or mavericks, or the star power of the heat, but they have a nice balance that can take them a long way.

  • http://birdieguy.blogspot.com/ Birdieguy

    “This team is not as good as their record indicates..”

    I’d like to know how you feel about this now that this team just dominated the Lakers tonight.

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