Posted April 25, 2012 on AP on Fox
Texas_news_fe31
After securing the top seed in the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs are already turning their attention to avoiding another first-round playoff exit. The Phoenix Suns aren't getting that chance for a second straight season. The Spurs may opt to begin preparing for the postseason by resting a number of players - including Tim Duncan - while trying to sweep the season series from the Suns on Wednesday night. San Antonio (48-16) has already clinched the West's top seed for the playoffs for a second consecutive season, an unexpected achievement for a team considered to be aging with the likes of Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. With two games left, coach Gregg Popovich can afford the luxury of resting his stars in an effort to avoid another early round playoff upset. The Spurs were stunned in six games by Memphis last season, becoming the fourth top seed to lose in the first round. They're already wary of a similar fate. "'It's great to be in that situation, but as we showed last year, someone can sneak up and take you out easily," said Duncan, who turns 36 on Wednesday. "Hopefully, we get a much better effort this year and do a much better job this year, and we stay away from those injuries. "Obviously, we don't want to do to go into a game somebody get hurt from some silly play." Duncan, Parker and Ginobili have been rested at various points during this condensed season, and Ginobili has dealt with various injuries that have limited him to 34 contests. Still, they own the top three scoring averages on San Antonio, while Duncan grabs 9.0 rebounds per game with Parker dishing out 7.7 assists per contest. Opting to rest the trio - or any combination of the three - could cost the Spurs a chance at the best record in the NBA, as they're tied with Chicago. Duncan had 18 points and eight boards in Monday's 124-89 rout of Portland, clinching the West's No. 1 seed. Danny Green hit four 3-pointers and went 6 for 6 from the field to add 18 points. The guard, averaging 9.2 points, may see an increase in playing time. He had three points in 12 minutes in a 105-91 win over Phoenix (33-32) on April 14. Duncan had 19 points and 11 rebounds in that meeting, and is averaging 23.0 and 11.0, respectively, in three wins against the Suns this season. San Antonio last swept the season series from Phoenix in 2003-04. The Suns were officially eliminated from the race with Tuesday's 100-88 loss at Utah, relinquishing the final postseason spot to the Jazz. "It's tough. We found a way to put ourselves in this position," guard Steve Nash said of missing the playoffs. "We started slow, no one gave us a chance when we were 12-19 and really didn't have any answers. It could have went the other way." This could be Nash's final game with the Suns, as he's scheduled to become a free agent after the season. ''Phoenix feels like my team,'' he said. ''It has the feel - and you don't always get it in professional sports - but it feels like a high school or college team. I spent so many years here and had so much success here. It's a special place for me, no question.'' The two-time NBA MVP and eight-time All-Star is averaging 12.5 points and 10.8 assists. However, a hip injury limited him to six minutes in the defeat to the Spurs earlier this month. Nash had 16 points and eight assists in a 107-100 home loss March 27.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES
NEVER TOO LATE

Centenarian attends first Spurs game

A fan of the San Antonio Spurs since the 1970s, 104-year-old Theresa Sanchez attended her first game in person on Monday night.

Sorry, skeptics, these Spurs are legit

SAN ANTONIO This should not have happened. The San Antonio Spurs should not be the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. Not with a roster that is in full-on transition mode. Not with their best player taking quarters, halves, entire nights off not in that figurative "he's getting lazy" way either, but in that literal "he's sitting on the bench in his warmups...

Spurs defeat Portland, clinch top seed in West

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Tim Duncan scored 18 points and the San Antonio Spurs clinched the top playoff spot in the Western Conference and pushed their win streak to eight, beating the Portland Trail Blazers 124-89 on Monday night. It's another No. 1 seed for the Spurs, who somehow made this sixth one in the Duncan era even more surprising than getting here last season. Two days...

Spurs Stephen Jackson went to Sea World (Pictures)

On the level of 1-Awesome, the below pictures might be out of the stratosphere as Spurs guard Stephen Jackson and some kids went to Sea World in San Antonio.Below are the pictures of their awesome day:(Courtesy of Spurs.com)

Toros face D-Fenders tonight in game one of D-League championship

While the San Antonio Spurs are getting ready for the playoffs, and Spurs fans keeping a close eye on tonight's Suns-Jazz game, the Spurs' D-League team, Austin Toros, is just two wins away from their first ever D-League championship. The Toros kick off a three-game series with the Los Angeles D-Fenders tonight in Austin. The Toros will have a tough road ahead of them...

Video: ESPN asks if Spurs will win the west

The San Antonio Spurs clinched the number one seed in the Western Conference playoffs last night by drubbing the Portland Trail Blazers (124-89) in their final home game.And now that the road to the Western Conference Finals now goes through the Spurs, it might be safe to say San Antonio will have the best shot to win the West. Well not according to ESPN's Rob Parker.As if owning...

Spurs Sign Derrick Byars

The San Antonio Spurs have signed Bakersfield Jam guard/forward Derrick Byars.

Parker not shy about possible playoff matchups with Lakers, Mavs

After securing the number one seed in the Western Conference for the NBA Finals, the San Antonio Spurs just have two more games before they close out what has been one of their most successful seasons, tying the Miami Heat and the Chicago bulls for top record in the NBA. For Spurs guard Tony Parker, it signals the start of the real season for the Spurs, and he said on his French...

Report: Spurs to sign Derrick Byars

The San Antonio Spurs 15th roster spot has been left open for quite some time, but they'll finally fill it with D-League swingman Derrick Byars, according to Ridiculous Upside's Scott Schroeder. Byars, who was drafted out of Vanderbilt with the 42nd selection in the 2007 NBA Draft, spent this past season with the NBA D-League's Bakersfield Jam, where he averaged 15.2...

South Texas native getting Spurs fans to jump on his bandwagon

The story sounds like one that you'd see in a movie. Going from a 5'11" power forward in Laredo to the head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers by the age of 33 is almost stranger than fiction, but it's all too true.Blazers head coach Kaleb Canales, the first ever Mexican-American head coach in the NBA, made it there through hard work and perseverance. After...

Spurs 110, Suns 106

Patty Mills scored 27 points and the depleted San Antonio Spurs beat Phoenix 110-106 on Wednesday night in a game overshadowed by the fact it could have been Steve Nash's last in a Suns uniform. The crowd stood and chanted ''We want Nash'' with about 5 minutes to go, leading coach Alvin Gentry to put the 38-year-old point guard in the game for a few plays before...

The 11 biggest cheap shots in NBA history.

In honor of Metta World War.

Spurs vs. Warriors preview: Spurs look for win 50, best record in the NBA

It’s the last game of the regular season for the San Antonio Spurs (49-16), and with the Western Conference’s top seed all locked up, it looks like we’ll get a repeat of the team we saw last night in Phoenix. The Spurs take on the Golden State Warriors (23-42) and former Spur Richard Jefferson tonight, in a game that could be an easy win even without the "Big Three...

Nash says Duncan still one of greatest players today

Last week after the Phoenix Suns visited San Antonio and were defeated by the Spurs 105-91, I had a chance to speak with Suns All-Star point guard Steve Nash. Though Nash only played six minutes in the double-digit win for the Spurs, he was able to speak on why the Spurs are so good this year, and he said it all starts with their aging big man, Tim Duncan. “Well Timmy’s amazing...
All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.