Friday, August 19, 2016

Spurs extend win streak to 10, defend home court against Wizards & Clippers.

The Spurs were given a fierce challenge by the visiting Wizards and Clippers, respectively, but San Antonio was able to defend its turf and hold on for two close wins that came down to the final two minutes.

Against the Wizards, Danny Green burst out in the fast break and once given the ball splashed in a three-pointer to give the Spurs the lead, reminiscent of that lethal killer instinct that this Spurs team has shown during its 4 championship seasons in 5 years. John Wall led the Wizards strongly with 28 points and 18 assists (new career high) and with 2 minutes left, things looked a bit grim for the home team, but the Wizards were smashed by a late rally from San Antonio.

Next, the Clippers came to the Riverwalk, reminded by the chorus of boos that it was them that handed the Spurs their first home court loss last season (credit for that goes to the Hawks this season, who the Spurs got 'revenge' on by winning the rematch in the ATL). Chris Paul meant business, but Blake Griffin was hindered by foul trouble. DeAndre Jordan had some monstrous dunks and the Clippers shot well in the loss, and like with the Wizards contest, could've easily won this game. A masterful feint pass by Manu Ginobili led to a 3PTer by Manu himself over Paul that sealed the victory. The Clippers also had struggles, with the likes of Jamaal Crawford and J.J. Reddick missing 3PT opportunities.

In both games, and during this 10 game win streak, Pau Gasol has dominated and gone on a roll, which has been a great benefit with Kawhi Leonard struggling a bit as of late. The 29 other teams are now impressed by the Spurs success and turnaround after a bumpy start sans-Tim Duncan, with social media blowing up fittingly about this unexpected surge by the defending champions. The Spurs still trail the Warriors (who are undefeated still at home) for the top record in the western conference, and the Spurs still have yet to play other elite teams in the league, but this win against the Clippers (close yes, but still a win) is inspiring.

Coach Popovich when asked by Doris Burke post-game about the win streak put his snarky quips on the back-burner and said, "The guys have been playing great. Real proud of them, putting in the work to win these tough games, showing their true talents out there on the court." When Doris pointed out that Popovich was also the coach calling the shots and keeping them calm under pressure, Popovich was quick to support it. "Yeah, that too."