Season 51, Game 77 San Antonio 100, Houston 83 45-32, 4th in the West
During this game there was a lot of discussion between Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jason and Mike Breen about the consistent excellence of the San Antonio Spurs and how good they’ve played this season despite injuries.
Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker, Rudy Gay, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green have missed 68, 27, 25, 16 and 12 games, respectively. Only Patty Mills has played in all 77.
It is truly astonishing, then, that the Spurs are a playoff team in the Western Conference, let alone that they have the 4th seed and are able to beat what is arguably the best team in the league.
Would this game have turned out differently if Chris Paul had played for Houston? Maybe. Probably.
The Spurs took the lead with 4 minutes left in the 1st quarter and never looked back. And yet, this game didn’t feel wrapped up until late in the 4th quarter.
I kept waiting for James Harden to go on a scoring spree, but he never did. He ended up with a ho-hum 25 points on 8-of-19 shooting.
The Spurs were led, as always, by LaMarcus Aldridge, who finished with 23 points, 14 rebounds and 3 blocks.
Rudy Gay scored 21 points and came through with some big moments when San Antonio needed them, including this block on Eric Gordon followed by an emphatic dunk on the opposite end:
After failing to finish a few fast break layup opportunities, and getting some advice from Coach Pop to pull up shoot the 3-ball, Patty Mills had a big fourth quarter, nailing 3-of-6 three pointers and finishing with 14 points.
With just five games left to play, it’s unlikely the Spurs will win five straight to finish with 50 wins for their 19th consecutive season.
They’d have to win against the Clippers and Lakers on the road, against the Trailblazers and Kings at home, then against the Pelicans on the road.
Don’t hold your breath, but don’t give up faith.
If last night’s game showed us anything it’s that the Spurs are a still a good team and could give anyone a run in the first round of the playoffs.
Anything can happen.
The Spurs head to Los Angeles for Tuesday and Wednesday night games at Staples. Neither LA team will make the playoffs this year, so both teams will be playing for pride, if anything. Should be fun.