OKC Thunder: Five things to know about the streaking San Antonio Spurs

Spurs have won 18 in a row heading into Wednesday’s game with Golden State that precedes Thursday’s game with the Thunder.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: April 1, 2014

•They’re well-rested. Another amazing aspect of this streak. Leonard is the only player averaging at least 30 minutes. And he’s just barely above that mark, at 30.1 per game. Ten Spurs are averaging at least 10 minutes during this stretch. Duncan (28.6), Parker (27.6) and Ginobili (22) are all below 29 minutes. Additionally, only three Spurs — Leonard, Belinelli and Boris Diaw — have appeared in each of these last 18 games. Duncan and Ginobili have appeared in 17. Parker has played in 15.

•Their bench gets busy. OK, it’s all impressive. Because the league’s best bench has been even better than normal. The Spurs’ reserves are averaging 50.4 points during the streak, five points more than their league-leading average. They’re outscoring opponents’ benches by 15.1 points per game. Of course, those staggering numbers go back to the Spurs smacking teams and pulling the starters in blowouts. But what the Spurs’ bench has done is impressive nonetheless. San Antonio’s reserves have scored at least 60 points on seven occasions during the streak, including the last three games. They’ve been outscored only five times in the last 18. They were as good as ever in a 119-85 win over the Lakers, scoring 76 points while their L.A. counterparts mustered just 31.

•They have a weakness. And it’s turnovers. While it’s not a huge deficiency, turnovers have been a bit of an issue for the Spurs. They’ve finished with more turnovers than their opponent in half of their games during this streak and have ended with the same amount twice. San Antonio’s 13.9 average giveaways during the streak are actually less than the 14.3 the Spurs average on the year. So, again, it’s not a huge deficiency. But there is more. San Antonio hasn’t forced many turnovers. The Spurs are getting just 13.5 turnovers a game out of opponents, which is below average. That means if the Thunder can take care of the ball and spook the Spurs into coughing it up, OKC could have a good chance at cooling off the hottest team in basketball.

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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