Mark Your Calendars
After winning 11 in a row over the course of 25 days, the Spurs have lost three of their last four in six days, including last night’s 25-point beating at the hands of Chris Paul (26 points, 17 assists), David West (29 points, 10 rebounds) and the New Orleans Hornets.
Are these recent losses evidence of the Spurs age? Maybe, but Tim Duncan has played extremely well during the past month, and even when he hasn’t, the Spurs have still won.
Maybe it’s the Kurt Thomas effect. Pop has started Thomas and given him increasing minutes over the last five games. The results have been mixed: two wins at home, three losses on the road; decreased productivity from Udoka and Oberto; losing the battle of the boards by a combined 217-188.
Whatever the cause of the slump, there isn’t much time for the Spurs to get back on track. While all that stands between the Spurs and the #1 seed is a single game, all that stands between them and not making the playoffs is four games. The Western Conference has never been more tight or more competitive. Just consider the last two weeks: we’ve watched the Spurs drop to sixth in the West, get as high as first and then slip back down to third behind the Gasol/Kobe Lakers and the history-making Rockets (20 wins and counting).
Now the Spurs find themselves with only 18 games left in the remaining 35 days of the season, and their schedule couldn’t be any more difficult — 11 out of 18 are against playoff teams, 9 out of 19 are on the road.
(current playof seed in parentheses)
Fri, Mar 14 at Detroit (#2)
Sat, Mar 15 at Philadelphia (#7)
Mon, Mar 17 vs Boston (#1)
Sun, Mar 23 at Dallas (#7)
Tue, Mar 25 at Orlando (#3)
Sun, Mar 30 vs Houston (#2)
Tue, Apr 1 vs Oakland (#8)
Fri, Apr 4 at Utah (#4)
Wed, Apr 9 vs Phoenix (#6)
Sun, Apr 13 at Los Angeles Lakers (#1)
Wed, Apr 16 vs Utah (#4)
If the current seeds hold, the Spurs (#3) will face the Suns (#6) in the first round. The Suns hold a 2-1 advantage this season and seem to match up better now that they have Shaq in the middle. Mark your calendars. This is going to be a wild ride.
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