Cause For Concern
So the Spurs lost another game to another quality team when they dropped 106-99 to the Denver Nuggets. Once again, a Spurs player was injured (Michael Finley). Once again, the real cuplrit was an ungodly amount of turnovers. Once again, there are still no excuses. The Spurs have now lost two games in a row and are threatening to reverse the trend of winning games that we were just beginning to get accustomed to. I’m not saying it’s time to hit the panic button, but there are some alarming trends with this Spurs team. Instead of doing another recap or even an in-depth preview of the Utah game, I’m just gonna throw a few facts out there for some perspective.
For The Record
-The Spurs are currently 9-8 and about to face a Utah team that is 11-8 and has already beaten the Spurs twice this season – at home and on the road.
-The Spurs are now 2-7 against teams above .500
-They are 5-6 against Western Conference teams
-The silver lining: they are 3-1 against Southwest Division teams
-The only road game they have won against a team over .500 was against an arguably over-achieving Houston team. It was an ugly game and not the most convincing of victories either, especially since the Spurs turned the ball over 14 times in that game.
-The Spurs are 1-4 in home games against teams above .500 – That game was against the Mavericks and is not exactly the best barometer since the Spurs were without Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, and the Mavericks were without Shawn Marion, Josh Howard, and Erick Dampier. Not to mention the Mavericks were exceptionally terrible in that game and lost despite 13 Spurs turnovers.
-The Spurs have won only one game in which they shot below .450, and that was against – you guessed it - Dallas. The same game as above.
-The Spurs are averaging 13.5 turnovers per game
-They have averaged 12.8 turnovers in wins, and 14.3 turnovers in losses
-They have had only four games with 10 or fewer turnovers
-They are 3-1 in those games with the one being against Portland. That was the game when Tony Parker first rolled his ankle and had to sit out half the game. That didn’t kill them though. Instead the Spurs shot themselves in the foot and out of the game with their worst shooting night of the season at .380 - helped in part by going 4-of-21 from downtown.
Not Time To Panic
There is hope, though, and plenty of it. The Spurs started slow last year with a 9-8 record to start and still finished 54-28 and won the division. This is a better team than last year’s but a road-heavy schedule in the second half of the season is not favorable for a team that needs time to gel. The Spurs need to develop the chemistry to play sharp basketball and stop turning the ball over, and they need to continue to bring the kind of defense they have been known for in past seasons. They have shown they are capable of both this year, but they need to bring it consistently and turn into a deadly road team if they are going to have a real chance to win this year.
Date: December 7, 2009