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Spurs Six-Game Win Streak Ends

By Daniel Strickland on April 2, 2007.

I have a few words to say about the Spurs loss to the Pacers today, but I’ll leave the harsh criticism to Coach Popovich:

“From our point of view, I thought it was a pathetic performance for a team that’s trying to prepare to go into the playoffs. In the fourth quarter, I thought we played embarrassing basketball. It was a very disappointing loss. A pathetic, pathetic performance.”

Embarrassing? Pathetic! It was a close game from start to finish, with 13 lead changes. Duncan, Parker and Finley all played well, but the Pacers bested the Spurs on the glass and dishing dimes.

The Spurs had a seven-point lead with less than three minutes left, so you would have thought they had the game in the can. I think the game simply meant more to the Pacers, who are fighting for the last playoff spot in the East.

What stood out for me — and I hate to be a broken record about this — was the Spurs abysmal free throw shooting. Compare their 67% shooting to the Pacers 91% from the charity stripe. But it’s actually worse than that: if you remove Finley (6 of 6) and Bonner (2 of 2), the team shot just 56%, which is exactly what Duncan (5 of 9) did on his own. In more than a few games this season, free throws have made the difference.

Maybe Pop was still hoping that the Spurs might catch the Suns and grab the #2 seed? I was, too, until I watched the Suns beat the Mavs decisively today, ending Dallas’s nine-game win streak.

The Suns looked outstanding, and despite the difficulty of their remaining schedule, I don’t think the Spurs will catch them now. In the first round, it looks like the Spurs will face the Lakers, the Suns will face the Nuggets, and the Mavericks will host the Clippers, or maybe, just maybe, the Warriors. Let’s hope it’s the latter: the Warriors have had the Mavs dialed in this season, like no other team in the league.

Btw, Michael recaps Game 71 at PtR, “Vaughn, Bones, Fin – How Can We Lose?

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