Spurs' Streak Another Sign of Sustained Excellence
By Brian Martin
With their win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday, the San Antonio Spurs won their 14th straight game, tying the longest streak of the Tim Duncan era (1997-today). The Spurs host the Nuggets on Wednesday looking to extend the streak to 15 games and inch closer to their franchise record for consecutive wins of 17, set during the 1995-96 season.
Considering the sustained level of excellence the Spurs have shown over the past 17 seasons -- all of them with Duncan and Gregg Popovich -- it was a bit surprising to see that 14 games was the longest winning streak the Spurs had put together.
That doesn't rank in the top 10 among the longest winning streaks in the NBA since the start of the 1997-98 season, a list topped by the Miami Heat's incredible 27-game run from last season.
Longest Win Streaks, since start of 1997-98 season
|Rank||Team||Start Date||End Date||Games|
|3||Los Angeles Lakers||2/4/00||3/13/00||19|
|7||Los Angeles Clippers||11/28/12||12/30/12||17|
|8||Los Angeles Lakers||12/11/99||1/12/00||16|
|9||Los Angeles Lakers||4/3/01||11/15/01||15|
|13||New Jersey Nets||1/25/04||2/24/04||14|
|15||New Jersey Nets||3/12/06||4/6/06||14|
|17||San Antonio Spurs||4/12/12||11/5/12||14|
|18||San Antonio Spurs||2/26/14||3/24/14||14|
While the Spurs are not near the top of this list, they do make their mark when looking at the list as a whole. There have been 98 streaks of 10 wins or more in the NBA since Tim Duncan entered the NBA in 1997. The Spurs have 16 of those streaks, accounting for 188 wins, the most by far of any team in the league.
The Los Angeles Lakers (11) and Dallas Mavericks (10) are the only other teams to crack double digits in terms of 10-game win streaks over the past 17 seasons. While the Miami Heat may have the second longest win streak of all time at 27 straight wins, their seven 10-game win streaks are less than half of what San Antonio has put together in the Duncan era.
There are seven teams -- the Bucks, Bobcats, Grizzlies, Magic, Pacers, Raptors and Wizards -- that have not had a 10-game win streak in the past 17 seasons. The Spurs have had 16.
|Team||10-Game Win Steaks||Total Wins During Streaks|
|San Antonio Spurs||16||188|
|Los Angeles Lakers||11||135|
|Portland Trail Blazers||5||57|
|New Jersey Nets||4||48|
|Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets||3||30|
|Los Angeles Clippers||2||28|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||2||22|
|New York Knicks||1||13|
|Golden State Warriors||1||10|
Since Duncan first arrived in San Antonio in 1997, the Spurs have won 942 of their 1,334 games, for an incredible .706 win percentage. They have 15 straight 50-win seasons -- including this season, which still has 12 games left (54 wins in 70 games played), and the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season (50 wins in 66 games played).
That streak would extend to all 17 seasons of Duncan's career had it not been for his shortened sophomore season (1998-99), which was cut to 50 total games played. The Spurs went 37-13 that year, a .740 win percentage, that would have put them on pace for 61 wins in a full 82-game season.
The Spurs' last loss came in Phoenix on Feb. 21, their only loss since the All-Star break. The winning streak began with a 120-110 win over the Detroit Pistons on Feb. 26 and exactly one month later, the Spurs will look to extend the streak at home against the Nuggets on Wednesday.
Spurs Stats During Win Streak
Spurs Stats for Season
A look at their numbers during the streak show the Spurs dominating their opponents in three areas:
1. Point Differential: The Spurs have outscored opponents by an average of 15.7 points per game -- scoring 111.6 points, while giving up just 95.9. Only four games during the streak have been decided by fewer than 10 points, while five of their victories have been by more than 20 points. They aren't squeaking out wins, they are dominating teams.
2. Assists: The Spurs are one of the most unselfish teams in the league. For the season, they lead the league in assists per game at 25.2 and that number has jumped to an astounding 28.8 during the streak. The Spurs have assisted on 69.1% of their baskets during the streak, a huge jump from their 62.4% assist percentage for the season as a whole.
3. Balanced Scoring: The Spurs' leading scorer during the win streak is Tony Parker, who has averaged at 17.2 points per game in 11 appearances over the past 14 games. The Spurs have six players averaging in double figures during the streak and eight averaging over nine points per game. This is an example of the streak mimicking the Spurs' season.
Parker is the Spurs' leading scorer on the season with an average of 17.6 points per game, which ranks him 35th among the league's scoring leaders. Think about that for a second. The team with the best record in the league (54-16) does not have a player in the top 30 in points per game.
There are 21 teams that have a player that averages more than Parker. There are five teams (Miami, Houston, Portland, Dallas, Charlotte) that have TWO players that average more than Parker. There are four teams (Minnesota, L.A. Clippers, Golden State, Sacramento) that have THREE players that average more points than Parker.
Spurs Advanced Stats During Win Streak
|Stat||Spurs Season (Rk)||Top Mark Season (Team)||Spurs Streak|
|OffRtg||108.2 (5)||109.5 (MIA)||112.2|
|DefRtg||100.0 (4)||95.5 (IND)||97.5|
|AST%||62.4% (5)||66.7% (ATL)||69.1%|
|REB%||50.6% (13)||52.7% (OKC)||52.3%|
|eFG%||53.9% (2)||55.7% (MIA)||55.2%|
|TS%||57.4% (2)||59.3% (MIA)||59.0%|
|PACE||97.01 (14)||101.91 (PHI)||98.90|
The one caveat to the Spurs' streak is the fact that only six of their 14 opponents would currently qualify for the playoffs -- Charlotte, Dallas, Miami, Chicago, Portland and Golden State. When the playoffs come, there will be no more games against the likes of Philadelphia, who the Spurs sent to their 25th straight loss on Monday.
San Antonio struggled against the league's elite teams earlier in the season, but with the playoffs set to tip off in less than a month, the Spurs look ready to make another championship run.