Found March 28, 2013 on Fox Sports Southwest:
One down, four to go. If the San Antonio Spurs are going to give up the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, this is probably the time they will do it. After beating Denver on Wednesday, the Spurs are one game into the most difficult five-game stretch of their season. Beginning Wednesday, San Antonio began a run against the teams with the five best records in the NBA Denver, Miami, Oklahoma City, Memphis and the Clippers. The Nuggets game came down to the last possession, but a win in a win and at 54-17 the Spurs remain a game and a half ahead of the Thunder and five and a half games ahead of the Clippers, who San Antonio hosts Friday. The Spurs don't mind. "I think it's great," point guard Tony Parker told the San Antonio Express News. "I said after the last game at home, the playoffs have started. It was playoff intensity against Utah. It was playoff intensity against Houston. They needed that win to get in the playoffs. So all of these games are going to be huge for us. Great preparation for the playoffs." The schedule lightens up after that, but just barely. The Spurs play the Nuggets again April 10 in Denver, the Lakers April 14 in Los Angeles and the Warriors the next day in Oakland before closing out the regular season at home against the Timberwolves. It's a stretch that will test the physical quality of the Spurs' team, but it will test their psychology just as much. How badly to the Spurs want to be the No. 1 seed in the first place? To what extent do they think it matters? Are they bored by their own clinical excellence? The next four games may tell us. Three thoughts 1. Did we get a sneak peek into how the Spurs are going to be eliminated from the playoffs last week in Houston? The Rockets used a good post defender (Omer Asik) on Tim Duncan, and just played him straight up. No denials, no doubles, nothing like that. Kevin McHale just asked the question, "Can you score on Asik?" And the answer, basically, was no. The Rockets won. I have written in this space before that I thought the Rockets could give the Spurs trouble. They play super fast, they score more than anybody else in the NBA and they have a superstar capable of carrying them through a bad night. Now we know they have a post defender capable of handling Duncan without help. Whether it's the Rockets or somebody else, we may have seen the blueprint. 2. Manu Ginobili's shooting slump is nothing to worry about. 3. Tony Parker says his ankle is still sore, and is expected to be that way for a while. This is not unsual for his stage of recovery, so it isn't an indicator the injury is worse that previously thought. It is, however, an indicator the Spurs have no designs on coasting into the playoffs. They were playing well without Parker and if they weren't worried about being the No. 1 seed, it would have made some sense to just let him rest until the ankle didn't hurt anymore. Quotes of the week "Someone woke me up in the middle of the night to tell me. I said, 'They're the defending NBA champions? Are you sure?' I had no idea they were even looking at me." Guard Manu Ginobili, to the Express News, reflecting on draft night in 1999 ,when the Spurs selected him with the 57th pick. "I didn't think he earned 17 free throws." Tim Duncan after Sunday's loss to the Rockets, in which the Spurs had entered the game specifically trying to keep Harden, who averages 10 free throws per game, off the foul like. "That didn't work out very well," coach Gregg Popovich said. What's next? The playoffs? Once the Spurs make it out of this gauntlet, the regular season is basically over. If the season ended today (which it doesn't, so, you know) they would play the Los Angeles Lakers in a first-round series. Old v. Old. Compelling. Who's hot, who's not Hot: Tony Parker Since returning from his ankle injury, Parker is averaging 21 points and 7.7 assists while shooting 50 percent from the floor. Not: Manu Ginobili Ginobili is shooting 29 percent from the field since March 6 and has gone over double figures in scoring in just four of the last nine games. Tower of power As with all of the previous weeks of this feature, the Spurs have the best record in the Western Conference. Nobody seems to think they could beat the Miami Heat in the Finals, if it comes to that, but it's hard to make a case anybody else would have a better shot.

Coach Pop answers his mailbag. Discusses Baynes, Ginobili coaching & more

San Antonio Spurs' head coach Gregg Popovich answered questions from the team's fans on and they didn't hold back on asking him what was on their minds. The questions ranged from coaching to his current players on the roster. One of the interesting questions was about Aron Baynes and what he thought about him and what he expects him to bring this season...

Parker calls Nuggets a test on both sides of the ball

The San Antonio Spurs survived the first of five upcoming contest against the NBA's elite, beating the Denver Nuggets 100-99.  The offense hummed as the Spurs connected on 10/15 three point attempts.  The defense wasn't as stout as it has been most of the season as the Nuggets shot 47 percent from the field while missing all of ten of their three point attempts.  That...

Duncan lifts Spurs over Clippers

Tim Duncan had a season-high 34 points, including a game-winning three-point play with 2.2 seconds left, and the San Antonio Spurs outlasted the Los Angeles Clippers, 104-102, on Friday night. Duncan also had 11 rebounds for San Antonio (55-17), which won its seventh straight at home. Tony Parker added 24 points and eight assists and Tiago Splitter had 14 points. Blake Griffin...

Tim Duncan Hits Game-Winner To Beat Clippers

36-year-old, Tim Duncan, added another spectacular performance to his impressive season Friday, scoring a season-high 34 points, pulling down 11 boards, and hitting the game-winning shot to lead the Spurs to a 104-102 home victory over the Clippers. The win increased San Antonio’s lead over the Thunder for first place in the Western Conference to 2.5 games.

Duncan helps Spurs edge Nuggets

Tim Duncan had 23 points and 14 rebounds and the San Antonio Spurs escaped with a 100-99 win over Denver on Wednesday night when Nuggets veteran guard Andre Miller missed a short jumper at the buzzer. Danny Green added 20 points and Tony Parker had 18 points and 11 assists for the Spurs, who remained 1 1/2 games ahead of Oklahoma City in the race for the top spot in the Western...

Spurscast #289: On the I-35 rivalry, taking last shots and matching up with the Heat

On this week's episode of the Spurscast, Trevor Zickgraf (@yowhatupt) and I are joined by Project Spurs' newest member, Jesse Blanchard (@BlanchardJRB).  We talk about the San Antonio Spurs potentially seeing their Texas rival Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs. With the way the Mavs have been playing, is that a matchup Spurs fans should hope they avoid...

Spurs see tough games ahead as a 'great opportunity'

The San Antonio Spurs pulled out a win last night against the Denver Nuggets with a late showing of defense on the last play. It was a much needed win with the next few opponents coming up. While some may view the schedule as unfair, the Spurs and head coach Gregg Popovich view it in a different way. In fact, their view of it is pretty positive. "The schedule that...

Spurs escape with a win over the Nuggets

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Tim Duncan had 23 points and 14 rebounds and the San Antonio Spurs escaped with a 100-99 win over Denver on Wednesday night when Nuggets veteran guard Andre Miller missed a short jumper at the buzzer. Danny Green added 20 points and Tony Parker had 18 points and 11 assists for the Spurs, who remained 1 games ahead of Oklahoma City in the race for the top spot...

TP Injury Update

Tony Parker was injured in the 3rd quarter with a sprained right middle finger, but is expected to finish the game against the Denver Nuggets. Should the Spurs rest him this game and maybe the next? Parker is already coming off an ankle injury and the Spurs can't afford to lose him for this run against playoff contenders. It may be wise to sit him and see how the team plays...

Warriors' Bogut has advice for fellow Aussie Aron Baynes

San Antonio Spurs' Aron Baynes hasn't seen much action on the court for the Spurs. He has bounced back and forth between San Antonio and Austin playing for the Toros. With San Antonio, he has played 11 games, and is averaging 6.6 minutes in limited time but in the few minutes, he has shown flashes of a solid player for the Spurs off the bench. But going back and forth...

2012-2013 NBA Regular Season: Greg Smith Dunks On Tiago Splitter

Matchup of the Game: Spurs vs. Clippers

The matchup of the game for Friday night's matchup between the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers will be between backups Manu Ginobili and Jamal Crawford. This will be the fourth and final game between the two teams in the regular season with the Spurs looking to tie up the series at 2-2. Both men's average in this series is almost identical with Ginobili averaging...

5 things to watch: Spurs vs. Nuggets

The San Antonio Spurs (53-17 will begin a stretch of games where they will be facing playoff bound teams and it starts tonight versus the Denver Nuggets (49-23) in San Antonio. This will be the third meeting between the two team with one more game in Denver next month. The Spurs and Nuggets have split the first two meetings with each team winning on their home court. In the most...

Matchup of the Game: Spurs vs. Nuggets

The matchup of the game for tonight will be between Kawhi Leonard and Danilo Gallinari as the San Antonio Spurs host the Denver Nuggets. This will be the third meeting between the teams, but it will be the first meeting this season between the small forwards. Standing at 6'10" in the small forward spot, he's anything but that. He's one of the toughest players...

Clippers-Spurs Preview

Reaching 50 wins is rather routine for the San Antonio Spurs, but it's uncharted territory for the Los Angeles Clippers. Winning three straight regular-season games in San Antonio would also be a new feat. The Clippers look to clinch the best season in franchise history Friday night when they face the Western Conference-leading Spurs, who continue a daunting late-season stretch...
NBA 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
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.