Last year the Heat ran up a 27 game winning streak on their way to back-to-back championships. Winning streaks don't equal championships. Like the 22 game winning steak from Houston in 2008, and in the following season the Celtics won 19 in a row. What it does suggest though is that Spurs are serious, and angry over last years missed opportunity.
The Spurs are built on a system, and not one single player is more important than that. The Spurs do have a living legend in Tim Duncan, and maybe the best point guard in the game in Tony Parker. But those two alone don't makeup what the Spurs are. I'm always jealous of the Spurs. They were able to grow old, and at the same time they were able to compete for titles with Duncan past his prime. Just a remarkable accomplishment from the Spurs.
This is their longest regular-season win streak since reeling off 17 in a row from Feb. 29 to March 31, 1996. And Popovich seems to be growing more antsy with every victory.
"Oh, very. Very, very, very. Very much," Duncan said. "He's a teacher and wants to teach. He wants the good and the bad. Even through this streak, he's been on us a tremendous amount, making sure we don't rest on just the wins, but we're learning from game to game."
Popovich found a teaching moment in the third quarter with the game well in hand. His team relaxed on one possession and allowed an easy transition basket by Randy Foye. Popovich quickly called timeout and voiced his displeasure to his team.
"Even as much as we're up, he was still on us the entire game," Duncan said.
Hard to find too much fault with the Spurs' effort in this one. Marco Belinelli scored 27 points, Duncan had 20 and the Spurs scored a season high in points.
San Antonio also maintained a three-game lead for the top seed in the Western Conference. It's a quick turnaround for the Spurs, who host New Orleans on Saturday.
"This (winning streak) is great challenge," Duncan said. "It's a big challenge. People can get lackadaisical and look past certain games. We've done a good job of not doing that."
I believe the Spurs are playing like the best team right now, and I don't know if that will carry over into the playoffs. Sometimes matchups kill teams, and we've seen that happen to a lot of great teams in the past. I do like the Spurs chances. I thought the Thunder were the better team, but this charge by the Spurs has changed my mind.