The San Antonio Spurs will conclude this decade with the
league’s most regular-season wins. They’ve done a good job of
adding to that total over the past three weeks.
The Spurs look to win for the 10th time in 12 games and continue
their dominance of the Miami Heat on Thursday at the AT&T
For the past 10 years, San Antonio (18-11) has been a model of
excellence in the NBA. The Spurs have amassed an league-best 573
regular-season victories since Jan. 1, 2000, while also winning
San Antonio, which hasn’t missed the playoffs since 1997, got
off to a bit of a slow start to this season, but has recently been
one of the league’s hottest teams. After losing three straight Dec.
3-7 to drop to 9-9, the Spurs have gone 9-2 to charge into the
thick of the Southwest Division race.
San Antonio’s recent run of success means little to its
“All I care about is how we’re playing and if we’re improving,”
Gregg Popovich said Tuesday after an easy 117-99 win over
Minnesota. “We have a long way to go.”
Although Popovich feels San Antonio has room for improvement,
the team is undoubtedly playing excellent ball right now.
The Spurs are averaging 105.9 points on 51.4 percent shooting in
their last 11 games, while outrebounding opponents by an average of
5.7 in that span.
“We got 50 games to go,” Richard Jefferson said. “Our final
product is going to be determined by the end of the year, not our
win-loss record in January or December.”
Jefferson led six San Antonio players in double figures Tuesday
with 24 points, while Manu Ginobili added 14 points with 10 assists
and nine rebounds.
Jefferson’s improved play over the past few weeks has helped key
the Spurs’ surge. The 6-foot-7 forward is averaging 14.5 points and
shooting 52.5 percent shooting in the last 11 games after averaging
8.9 points on 33.3 percent in his previous seven. He scored 32
points in his last game against Miami, a 102-85 loss for Milwaukee
on March 28.
The Heat (16-13) arrive in San Antonio following Wednesday’s
95-91 loss at New Orleans, snapping a three-game winning
Miami trailed by 15 points early in the fourth quarter but
stormed back to take an 88-87 lead when Quentin Richardson tipped
in Dwayne Wade’s missed jumper with 59 seconds to go. The Hornets
then scored the next six points to put the game away and hand the
Heat their second loss in seven games.
“On the road, you’ve got to give yourself a chance to win and we
did that,” said Wade, who finished with 22 points.
Miami hasn’t been in position to win often in San Antonio.
The Spurs have won 12 of 15 over the Heat overall, and 20 of 22
all-time meetings in San Antonio. Miami’s 99-83 win over the Spurs
on Nov. 7, 2008, snapped a 10-game road losing streak in the
Wade has played well despite his team’s struggles with the
Spurs, averaging 28.0 points and 10.0 assists in his last three
games against them.