The San Antonio Spurs have turned the page on the NBA calendar and find themselves with a 12-4 record heading into December.
The defending champions have had their fair share of positives and negatives so far this season, and had the NBA pundits questioning their resolve early in the year. That position was a new and uncomfortable, and perhaps undeserving one for the Spurs.
Accepting the challenge, San Antonio turned those doubters into promoters as they engaged in a seven game win streak to end the month.
Scroll through the slides to see some of the notable information we gathered from San Antonio’s first month!
What is their current position in the NBA rankings?
After an interesting 2-3 start in their first five games San Antonio has really turned things around. They are presently 12-4 on the year, which is good for 5th place in the Western Conference, and 3rd in the Southwest Division. Credit the positioning to a great start by the Memphis Grizzlies and the Dallas Mavericks. ESPN has San Antonio is 2nd place in the latest NBA Power Rankings.
What is the longest losing/winning streak?
Early in the season the Spurs had a two-game losing streak against to future playoff teams, the Houston Rockets and the New Orleans Pelicans. The longest winning streak for the Spurs is the one they are currently on, seven games in which they’ve looked like the Spurs of old.
What was their best win of the season?
The opening night game against Dallas was their best win of the year. The Mavericks have shown to be an extremely competitive team in this year’s Western Conference. Last year, they were San Antonio’s toughest out of the Playoffs when Dallas pushed them to a seven-game series. With all that emotion fueling Dallas, and San Antonio receiving their 2014 NBA Championship rings, all signs pointed toward a Mavericks-win. San Antonio proved their resiliency in a difficult matchup.
What was their worst loss of the season?
In the first game against the Sacramento Kings on November 15, San Antonio ran into DeMarcus Cousins. When Cousins plays for the Kings, they can be a very scary team. This is possibly the first round opponent for the Spurs, so losing to that group can provide Sacramento with the confidence that could come back to haunt the Spurs at Playoff time.
What are the key injuries for the Spurs?
There are four injuries that have affected the Spurs greatly. The absence of starting center Tiago Splitter has led San Antonio to get creative at the center position. Matt Bonner, Boris Diaw, and Aron Baynes have all had turns in the roll. Baynes is the most traditional fit, yet the Spurs have had the greatest success going unconventional with Bonner and Diaw getting the minutes. This was a great forced-opportunity for Coach Gregg Popovich to experiment with his lineup. Without reserve point guard Patty Mills ready for the Spurs, Corey Joseph has played more, and has absolutely shined. He is averaging 7.5 assists and 2.1 assists per game. Finally, the medical procedure (unknown) to Gregg Popovich let the Spurs see what they had in Ettore Messina. All he did was lead them to a few wins, making some key in-game adjustments critical in the San Antonio victories. A preview of Popovich’s successor, maybe?
Concerns for the remainder of the year?
None. The Spurs are on the right trajectory. They are on pace for 62 wins on the season, identical to last year’s totals.
Concerns for the next month?
There are three games on the schedule that should give San Antonio fans pause. There are two critical games against Memphis (December 5, and December 15). This is the leader in the division and is always a difficult, and very physical, game. On December 20, the Spurs face off once again against Tyson Chandler, Dirk Nowitzki, and the Dallas Mavericks in a revenge game.
MVP and Conclusion
The MVP of the first month of the year is clearly Tony Parker. Parker has looked dominate at times this year. A fact that is absolutely critical in providing the consistency the Spurs will need this season. He is averaging 17.3 points per game, on 51% shooting (leading the Spurs), and 5.7 assists in each contest.
Overall, this has been a great first month of the year for San Antonio. Realize, however, that several other teams in the Southwest Division had similarly great starts. It will be a fight to the finish as the Spurs Race for Seis.