San Antonio Spurs News

The Biggest Week of the NBA Season is Here.

Mar 25, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) celebrates after scoring a three point basket during the second half New York Knicks at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 25, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) celebrates after scoring a three point basket during the second half New York Knicks at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
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The San Antonio Spurs are about to embark on their toughest week of the NBA season beginning Monday against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Spurs have quietly began a four-game winning streak, with the most recent win coming last night at home against the New York Knicks. Surprisingly, the Knicks were able to stay in the game without Carmelo Anthony, losing just 106-98.

Kawhi Leonard finished with a game-high 29 points on 11-of-18 shooting, along with five rebounds and five assists. LaMarcus Aldridge poured in 19 points on 9-of-21 shooting, including 10 rebounds and two assists. Pau Gasol had 19 points and10 rebounds.

Spurs are the first team to beat every other NBA team at least once in 3 consecutive seasons since Philadelphia's 7 straight from 1974-81.

— Jordan Howenstine (@AirlessJordan) March 26, 2017

Just like that, the Spurs have officially beaten every team in the NBA, and improved their record to 56-16, 2.0 games back of the Golden State Warriors.

While the Spurs are enjoying their Sunday off, the Warriors will be hosting the Memphis Grizzlies later tonight. If the Grizzlies can pull the upset, the Spurs will be just 1.5 games back of first place.

However, the Spurs cannot focus on what they cannot control. Instead, they must focus on the week ahead, and how continuing this winning streak can propel them into first place.

Monday

The Spurs will start their week by hosting the defending NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers will enter this game with a record of 47-25, first place in the Eastern Conference. However, that first place lead is dwindling quite fast for LeBron James and the Cavaliers. They are 5-5 in their last 10, and hold just a 0.5 game lead on the Boston Celtics.

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The Cavaliers have struggled to defend recently, as injured stars like JR Smith and Kevin Love have returned to the lineup trying to regain their confidence.

Despite their lack of success recently, James and the Cavaliers know that the Celtics are within striking distance, and the only way to hold them off is by winning games.

These two teams faced off once this season in Cleveland, where the Spurs won in overtime, 118-115. Leonard had arguably his best performance of the season, scoring 41 points on 15-of-30 shooting, along with six rebounds and five assists. James countered that with 29 points of his own, adding six rebounds and seven assists. Kyrie Irving had 29 points and nine assists.

The game was incredibly even, but it was the execution and ball movement down the stretch that propelled the Spurs to victory. This time around, we should expect much of the same.

Wednesday

After taking on the defending champions, the Spurs will face the team that lost to the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, the Warriors, who just so happen to be 2.0 games ahead of the Spurs for Western Conference supremacy.

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  • Fortunately, the Spurs will have Tuesday off to rest and prepare for the Warriors. The Warriors, however, will be visiting the Houston Rockets on Tuesday, before traveling to San Antonio on Wednesday.

    Depending on the situation, the Spurs may have an opportunity to play the Warriors on Wednesday trailing just 1.0 gam. Since the Spurs already own the tie breaker, a win would put them in first place.

    These teams have played twice this season, with the Spurs winning both of those matchups. The first game of the series happened on opening night where Kevin Durant and the new-look Warriors hosted the Spurs at Oracle Arena. The Spurs ended up winning by 29 points, 129-100.

    Leonard had 35 points on 10-of-21 shooting, including five rebounds, three assists, and five steals. Aldridge poured in 26 points on 50% shooting, along with 14 rebounds.

    Durant had 27 points in his debut, as well 10 rebounds and four assists. Steph Curry had 26 points of his own, including 5-of-6 from long-range.

    In the second matchup, the Warriors rested their Big-3 since Leonard and Aldridge had already been ruled out with injuries. The Spurs second-unit stepped up and won that game, 107-85.

    Hopefully, the third game will feature all key players (except Durant) so fans can get a better grasp of how these two teams will matchup against each other if they were to meet in the playoffs.

    Friday

    After facing the two teams in the last two NBA Finals, the Spurs will take their talents on the road to take on Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

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    While this may be the easiest game on paper, the Spurs lost to the Thunder this season, unlike the two elite teams we’ve just finished mentioning.

    The Spurs won the first matchup, 108-94. Leonard had 36 points on 50% shooting, along with eight rebounds and four assists. Aldridge chipped in 25 points and six rebounds. Westbrook finished with 27 points, 14 assists, and six rebounds.

    In the second matchup, the Thunder got their revenge, winning 102-92. Leonard left in the game in the third quarter with a concussion that would later result in missing the game against the Warriors. Westbrook finished with another triple-double, scoring 23 points, along with 13 rebounds and 13 assists.

    The Thunder are much more efficient when they are at home and Westbrook has a triple-double, both of which happened in the last game. Ideally, the Spurs tighten up on defense and don’t allow Westbrook to run wild again. Obviously, that’s much easier said than done.

    Sunday

    The Spurs will end the toughest week of the season on Sunday afternoon when they host the fourth place Utah Jazz live on ABC.

    The Spurs and the Jazz have battled twice this season, both teams winning on the road. The Jazz won the first game in San Antonio, 106-91. George Hill led the Jazz with 22 points and seven assists. Rodney Hood chipped in 19 points, and Rudy Gobert had 12 rebounds.

    Most 55+ win seasons in history:Celtics – 24 (71 years in NBA)Lakers – 23 (69 years in NBA)SPURS – 20 (41 years in NBA)

    — Jordan Howenstine (@AirlessJordan) March 26, 2017

    Leonard led the way for the Spurs, scoring 30 points on 10-of-18 shooting, along with seven rebounds. Aldridge contributed 21 points of his own. The Spurs got their revenge in the second game, however, winning 100-86. Leonard had 29 points on 50% shooting, including 11 rebounds and four assists. Aldridge chipped in 19 points, while Patty Mills had 16 of his own.

    For the Jazz, Hood led the way with 18 points, followed by Joe Johnson with 14 points, and Hill with 13 points. Everyone else was held under double digit scoring.

    This will be the third game against the Jazz, with one more coming on the final day of the season.

    Will the Spurs Prevail?

    The Spurs will take on the first seed in the East, the first seed in the West, the sixth seed in the West, and the fourth seed in the West, all in the span of a week.

    This is a tough challenge, but an excellent stretch of basketball to test the Spurs willingness to compete against the best teams in the association. The Spurs struggle with teams under .500 more than they do with teams above .500, so we’ll see if that stat holds true.

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    With the resurgence of Aldridge, the Spurs become incredibly dangerous on the offensive end, especially when you consider the double-teams Leonard is receiving. This opens up the floor for players like Aldridge and Gasol down-low, as well as shooters like Mills and Danny Green.

    Combine those offensive adjustments with arguably the best defense in the NBA and you have one hell of a scary team in San Antonio. The best teams tend to bring out the best in the Spurs. If so, the Cavaliers, Warriors, Thunder, and Jazz may be in for a tough week.

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