San Antonio Spurs flirting with history
SAN ANTONIO - The Associated Press
San Antonio Spurs’ veteran forward Tim Duncan (L) is putting successful performances in the playoffs as usual, averaging 17.6 points and nine rebounds per game. REUTERS photo
Eighteen wins in a row, and eight more victories to go.
That says it all about how the San Antonio Spurs are steamrolling through these playoffs at a pace that is flirting with NBA history, even if they are saying as little about it as possible.
“We don’t have any secret. We don’t even think about it,” Spurs guard Tony Parker said.
There’s plenty for everyone else to mull. Like whether these Spurs - 13 years after winning their first of four championships - actually might be the best version yet. Game 1 of their first Western Conference finals since 2008 will be on May 27 against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Sweeping the Los Angeles Clippers last weekend put San Antonio’s winning streak among the 10 longest in league history - tied for fifth along with Michael Jordan’s 72-win Chicago Bulls in 1996, among others. Eighteen straight victories is a team record, and getting to 19 would tie the 2001 LA Lakers for the record of longest winning streak in the postseason.
Yet with the Spurs facing another weeklong break until their next series - just as they had after sweeping Utah in the first round - Parker said before leaving Los Angeles that he won’t pass the time weighing where this run is starting to stack up in the Tim Duncan era.
“Until we go all the way, I can’t compare this team,” Parker said.
Duncan, who’s averaging 17.6 points and nine rebounds in the playoffs, at least acknowledged getting the same vibe as he felt during championship runs in 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007. But that’s as much as he’s willing to say.
“It feels a lot like some of the other championship teams. In saying that, we haven’t done anything yet,” Duncan said. “We’ve won two rounds. We haven’t done anything so you can’t qualify, or classify our team as anything other than that we’ve gotten this far.”
That’s not entirely true: these Spurs can be classified as a higher-scoring, better-shooting and more-balanced version of their four championship seasons. San Antonio is the only playoff team averaging more than 100 points per game (102.5).