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This Is How Streaking San Antonio Continues To Improve Offensively

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio is riding an 11-game winning streak and continues to gain on Golden State with better offensive efficiency and bench-play.

Lawler’s Law tells us the first team to score 100 points wins. 

While this claim holds true 93.9% of the time according to the site tracking it, it’s especially helpful when trying to explain the Spurs’ 11-game win streak. 

This is nothing new. All season, San Antonio has stifled opposing offenses, allowing a league-lowest 89.6 points per game. But since laying a lump of coal against Houston on Dec. 25, the Spurs haven’t lost, and have put a bow on their game by putting more points on the board — stuffing stat sheets and stockings alike. 

San Antonio has gone from scoring 103.9 per game to 109.7 per game over their 11-game run, and have upped their offensive rating from 108.3 to 113. 

Let’s take a more detailed look at how the Spurs’ play style and personnel have improved since Christmas. 

A More Organized Offense

We knew when LaMarcus Aldridge arrived that it could take the Spurs some time to iron out the kinks in their offense. Well, that time is up, and San Antonio is firing on all cylinders. 

The Spurs have kicked their offense into high gear over the past few weeks, and Tony Parker deserves a lot of the credit. He’s shooting 47.1% from the field in January, including a 31-point performance on Detroit on 13-19 from the field. 

The Frenchman is also averaging just 1.7 turnovers per game in January. As a whole, the Spurs are have gone from being 10th in the league in turnover ratio at 14.3 to third in the league at 12.8. It’s well known that the Spurs like to pass, and now the league will have to keep up with their passing at a much lower turnover rate.




Obligatory Spurs ball-movement clip (courtesy of reddit user: dragonballa)

They’ve also gotten better at running in transition. The Spurs have gone from being 20th in the league in points off turnovers (15.7/game) to being third (20/game) over their winning streak.

The Veterans Off the Bench

David West knows mo’ money means mo’ problems, which is why he took an $11 million pay-cut to play with a team that has a championship culture. For now, the Spurs are getting their money’s worth from the 1.5 million-dollar man who has been a huge part of their bench production, including a 14 point, 13 rebound, four assist performance on 7-8 shooting vs. Utah on Jan. 6. 

Image title

(courtesy of reddit user: deephouse1)

The other bench player delivering major dividends (yet again) is the 6-foot-8, 250-pound Swiss army knife known as Boris Diaw. Diaw has been a huge part of the Spurs’ hot streak, shooting 60.5% from the field and 50% from three over the past 11 games. His best performance was either an 8-13 effort against Houston with a season-high 20 points and eight boards, or his 16-point showing against Dallas that left Wesley Matthews in the spin cycle.




Diaw fools Matthews with the fake pass and scores (courtesy of reddit user: noahsbun)

The recent rise in play from West and Diaw might help explain the Spurs’ dominance in the paint lately. While the Spurs are sixth in points in the paint this season (44.9/game), they’ve been the best in the league since Christmas, piling on 51.1 points from the paint per game. 

The Depth

When the Spurs signed LaMarcus Aldridge’s huge deal, some criticized the move, saying there would be little-to-no cap-flexibility to bolster their thin bench. So the Spurs were forced to go out and find cheap talent — and they did. 

On of the new faces is undrafted D-leaguer Jonathon Simmons. The 26-year-old shooting guard broke onto the scene with an 18-point performance on 6-7 shooting against Milwaukee in what was just the fifth time in his career that he played at least 20 minutes. He also made waves two weeks ago by showing off his athleticism with two very loud points against Brooklyn. 




Simmons slams it home (courtesy of reddit user: smithy006)

The team has also received unlikely contributions from second-year player Kyle Anderson, who recorded a season-high 13 points against Utah and is shooting 70.6 percent from the field in January. 

The most popular Spur these days, though, is big man Boban Marjanovic. The 7-foot-3 Serb is 13-20 from the field over his last three games. He may be averaging only 7.5 minutes per game, but he has a 31.9 PER and manages to make those 7.5 minutes the best of your day. 




Boban serbes up the no-look pass and finishes the possession (courtesy of reddit user: noahsbun)

Final Thoughts

It was only a matter of time before San Antonio got their offense clicking. And now — much to the dismay of the rest of the league — the Spurs are operating at full force with better ball management and big contributions off the bench. 

And if that isn’t enough to get the job done, at the end of the day, Tim Duncan still leads the NBA in defensive rating (91.6) right alongside Kawhi Leonard (92). 

Even if San Antonio’s offense drops into a ditch, they’ll still hold you under 100 points. And with that, the 36-6 Spurs will only continue to get better.  

Edited by Emily Berman, Coleman Gray.

SQuiz
Who did the San Antonio Spurs take with the 30th pick in the 2014 draft?
Created 1/21/16
  1. Kyle Anderson
  2. Boban Marjanovic
  3. Jonathon Simmons
  4. Patty Mills

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