The San Antonio Spurs are on some kind of roll.
The win was San Antonio’s 18th straight, and it gives them another long rest before they begin their next series. But while the rest has no doubt helped the team’s veteran core stay fresh this postseason, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have looked anything but their age during the dominant run.
Few expected the aging Spurs to contend for an NBA title this season, but with the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers on the ropes in their respective series, San Antonio has emerged as a favorite to reach the finals.
The Spurs last tasted defeat all the way back on April 11 in a 14-point home loss to the Lakers. Since then, they’ve been a machine, breezing past the Jazz in Round 1. And after facing minimal resistance from Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the Clippers in Games 1 and 2, the Spurs rallied late to finish them off in four.
“We needed a game like that. It arrived at the perfect time,” Parker said of Sunday’s close contest. “We battled. We executed our plays, made big baskets.”
Parker had 17 points and five assists to continue his stellar season, Duncan had another vintage game with 21 points and nine rebounds and San Antonio’s reliable role players lived up to their billing. Danny Green was 3 of 5 from three-point range for 14 points, Gary Neal added 14 and Ginobili and Tiago Splitter each chipped in 11 to help San Antonio’s bench outscore L.A. 43-31.
“Their experience showed with their execution,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. “Tim looks great and the rest of the guys are feeding off that.”
Oklahoma City’s 3-1 lead on the Lakers feels weightier than it is with how well the Thunder have played to this point. They certainly have the talent to win the West, but the Spurs have the experience and they’d have the rest if the two met in the conference finals.
Everything is falling in San Antonio’s favor at the moment. Are they now the favorite to bring home their fourth title in 10 years?