3 Things The San Antonio Spurs Must Do After All-Star Break

By George Middleton
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The San Antonio Spurs entered the all-star stretch with a record 34-19. That is good for seventh place in a loaded Western Conference. They are six games ahead of the Phoenix Suns in the loss column, who are in eighth place. If the Spurs don’t play well the final 29 games, a team like the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are six games behind them can catch them. It would be a surprise if the defending champs don’t make the playoffs, but they avoid getting the eighth seed, because they would likely face Golden State.

1. Health

The Spurs remaining healthy will be extremely important for their playoff run. The Spurs had a disastrous first half in terms of injuries. Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker, Tiago Splitter and Patty Mills missed big portions of the season with injuries. As of now the Spurs have no significant injuries. If the Spurs can find a way to remain healthy as they have recently, they will be in position to make a run, if not they will be in deep trouble. The Spurs can’t afford an injury to a key player, as the Western Conference is simply too deep.

Jan 28, 2015; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs players (from left to right) Kawhi Leonard, and

Tim Duncan

, and Tony Parker watch on the bench during the second half against the Charlotte Hornets at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

2. Improvement In Areas

Cut Down Turnovers- In past seasons the Spurs were known as a team that will never beat themselves. This season the Spurs are averaging 13.6 turnovers, which places them in the middle of the league (15th) in the area. Tony Parker leads the Spurs in turnovers (2.5) and Manu Ginobili is second (2.3) on the team. If the Spurs don’t cut down on turnovers, winning can be a challenge against the elite teams.

Efficiency- The Spurs are shooting 45% from the field this season. They rank 13th in the league respectively, but they can still improve. Last season the Spurs shot an incredible 49% from the field. They shot 40% from three last year, this year they are at 36%. If the Spurs improve their efficiency it will certainly lead to more success.

Feb 8, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; San Antonio Spurs guard

Danny Green

(14) dribbles the ball up court as Toronto Raptors center

Jonas Valanciunas

(17) chases during the first half at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

3. Beat Western Conference Teams

The Spurs are 18-14 against Western Conference teams. Against the Eastern Conference the Spurs are a dominant 16-5. Beating out of conference teams is important, but it won’t really matter come playoffs time, until the NBA Finals. The Spurs have 20 games remaining against Western Conference teams, which could spell trouble if they play they did against these teams in the first half. The Spurs were 8-8 against the Western Conference playoff teams as of now. The Spurs will face the Warriors, Rockets, Mavericks and Thunder twice each in the final 29 games. Winning 15 of these final 20 in conference games will show they’re ready to beat the better teams.

Nov 11, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) dribbles the basketball against Golden State Warriors forward

Harrison Barnes

(40) during the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena. The Spurs defeated the Warriors 113-100. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Next: 3 Moves the Spurs Can Make Before Trade Deadline

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