San Antonio Spurs: Spurs beat Pacers, Close Gap with Warriors.


The San Antonio Spurs put their Knicks loss behind them as they went into Indiana and beat the Pacers, 110-106.

The Spurs brought their talents to Indiana Monday night looking to extend the Pacers losing streak to four games. Not only did the Spurs extend the Pacers losing streak to four games, but Kawhi Leonard extended his 30-point scoring streak to four games.

Kawhi Leonard's final stat sheet:

32 points on 13/23, 6 rebs, 3 assists, and 4 steals.

Spurs win, 110-106. #MVPWatch #GoSpursGo

— Air Alamo (@AirAlamo) February 14, 2017

As I mentioned yesterday, the matchup to watch in this game was Leonard vs Paul George.

George played very well, scoring 27 points on 8-of-15 shooting, with three assists and six rebounds in 37 minutes of play. On paper, their numbers were nearly identical last night, a big reason why this game came down to the final possessions.

Kawhi Leonard now has 19 games with 30+ points – the most in a season by a Spur since Tim Duncan's 20 in 2001-02.

— Jordan Howenstine (@AirlessJordan) February 14, 2017

From a team perspective, the stats were just as close.

The Spurs shot 46% from the field, while the Pacers shot 48.7% from the field. The Spurs shot 46.7% from beyond the arc, and the Pacers shot 45% from beyond the arc. Both teams finished the game with 11 turnovers each.

The Spurs had 18 assists, the Pacers had 21.

The Spurs had 7 steals, and the Pacers had 8.

It was Leonard’s steal late in the game that may have sealed the fate of the Spurs. After giving up a steal to the Pacers, Leonard used his massive hands to reach behind George to poke the ball out, leading to some Spur free throws.

Kawhi wasn't about to let it go down like that…

— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) February 14, 2017

At the time, the Spurs were up 105-101 with about 32 seconds left. If the Pacers retained possession, they could have cut the lead down to one or two points. Instead, Tony Parker went to the line and hit his free throws, putting the Spurs up 107-101.

Although George came back the next possession and hit a three-pointer, it was too little, too late.

Spurs win, 110-106, and improve their overall record to 42-13. With this win, the Spurs will guarantee their 20th consecutive winning season, the longest such streak in NBA history.

Most consecutive winning seasons in NBA history:1. SPURS – 20 (1997-2017)2. Jazz – 19 (1985-2004)3. Lakers – 16 (1976-92)

— Jordan Howenstine (@AirlessJordan) February 14, 2017

To say that 20 consecutive winning seasons is impressive would be a massive understatement.

The last time the Spurs had a losing season? 1996. I was three years old, Kyle Anderson was three years old, and Leonard was five years old.

As far as their Rodeo Road Trip, the Spurs are now 3-2, with a game against the Orlando Magic Wednesday night before resting for all-star weekend. Unless, of course, you’re Leonard, who’s starting for the Western Conference All-Stars.

Kawhi Leonard: 10th NBA player in past 25 seasons w/30+ pts in 4 straight road games.

Full list from @EliasSports:

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 14, 2017

Not only did the Spurs win last night, but the Golden State Warriors lost. The Spurs (43-12) are now just 4.0 games behind the Warriors (46-9) with 27 games left. With nine losses, the Warriors matched their loss total from all of last season.

Granted, the Warriors blowing a four game lead in the West is unlikely. However, for Spurs fans, there is reason to be optimistic.

The Spurs are in the midst of an eight game road trip. When the road trip is completed on Sunday, February 26th, the Spurs will play 16 of their 24 games at home, where the Spurs lost just one game last season.

Two of those home games will come against the Warriors. The Spurs won the first meeting on opening night in Golden State, 129-100. If the Spurs split the last two games, they will have the regular season tie-breaker over the Warriors, putting them in prime position to steal the #1 seed.

Kawhi Leonard total games with 25+ points:2011-2016 – 26 (324 games)2016-2017 – 26 (50 games)

— Jordan Howenstine (@AirlessJordan) February 14, 2017

It’s also worth noting that the Warriors have been relatively injury-free this season. The Spurs, on the other hand, have been without Pau Gasol for 14 games, and won’t return until after the all-star break. When he returns, they’ll be at full strength for the first time since mid-January.

More from Spurs News

With or without Gasol, the Spurs are an elite defensive team.

However, without Gasol, the Spurs struggle on offense, and rely too heavily on Leonard. With Gasol, they become an elite on both ends of the floor, something they’ll have to be to catch the Warriors.

On the other hand, James Harden and the Rockets are 40-17 on the season, 3.0 games behind the Spurs. Not only do the Spurs need to win to catch up to the Warriors, but they need to win to ensure the Rockets don’t steal the #2 seed.

Now that we are in the ladder stages of the season, every game is crucial.

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The Spurs travel to Orlando to play the Magic on Wednesday night, looking to improve their Rodeo Road Trip record to 4-2 before heading into all-star weekend.