San Antonio

Can the Spurs Still Get the Top Seed?

Philip Maymin
Basketball News Services 

Of the Spurs' remaining 17 games, only seven are on the road, with ten at home. Extrapolating by their record-to-date, that means they should get seven or eight home victories plus four or five road victories. They could end the season 56-26,and it wouldn't take anything other than what they've been doing all season. On the other hand, if they step up their games to another level in just four key games, they could virtually clinch the top seed in the division, the conference, and the league.

Many of the remaining games are against weak opponents. They face Golden State and Portland twice, and Boston, Phoenix, Cleveland, Denver, Utah, Seattle, and the Clippers once. That's eleven victories if they just take care of business. Yes, some of those teams have upset the Spurs already this season, including Denver's first game this season. But this end of the regular season regularly belongs to San Antonio. With those eleven victories, if they can get them, they have only six tough games to gut out, and those six could potentially bring the Spurs to number one again.

Those six games are two each with Sacramento and Minnesota, and one each against the Lakers and Detroit. Those are tough games but not impossible. With Minnesota struggling of late with recent losses to the woeful Philadelphia and Boston teams, San Antonio could look to take advantage.

With the rest of the league focusing on Minnesota, Indiana, Sacramento, and Detroit, and the Lakers always one everyone's lips, San Antonio could just sneak up on everyone once again, just like they did last year.

The Spurs welcome the Golden State Warriors to the SBC Center tonight, Friday, March 12 at 8:30 p.m. EST. The Warriors are headed for the lottery, but have given some superior teams problems this season. With the Spurs only two games back of the struggling Timberwolves, and only half a game in front of the Lakers, every game is of paramount importance down the stretch. This is one they should win if everybody shows up ready to take care of business. The game can be seen on KRRT locally and NBA League Pass nationally. The game can be heard on AM airwaves at WOAI 1200 and KCOR 1350.

Spurs 2004 Basketball Camp: boys and girls aged 8-18 are invited to experience and learn the Spurs/Stars winning attitude. No previous basketball experience is necessary. Details here.

Every Saturday isSan Antonio Express-NewsValue Night. Look in your Express-News for a coupon to receive a game ticket, hot dog, soft drink and Creamy Creations Ice Cream for a scant $20. There are only two remaining games left: March 20 against the resurgent Boston Celtics and March 27 against hapless Phoenix. 

Tim Duncan(irritation of the left patellofemoral joint) played 15 minutes against the Clippers and seemed to have no problems with his knee. Recently signed shooting guardMatt Carroll, barely off the plane that brought him into San Antonio, conveniently experienced some left knee tendinitis the same day Duncan returned from the injured list. Carroll was officially placed on the injured list Wednesday, March 10, joining guardAlex Garcia(right knee contusion) and centerSean Marks(left knee tendinitis). Garcia was placed there on January 10, while Marks has been there since November 18. 


Johnny Ludden ofThe San Antonio Express-Newswrites: Don't tell Avery Johnson goodbye. Not yet, at least.There's no need for goodbyes unless you're leaving, and Johnson still isn't sure he's leaving. He turns 39 in two weeks. He's put in 16 seasons. On those long nights, when his team is losing and he's sitting, he feels like he's been around for at least 20. He knows he can't move like he once did, and come this summer he won't have a contract. But he thinks he can still play, and, really, that's all the motivation he's ever needed. "I keep telling everybody I'm on my last lap," Johnson said. "I just don't know if I'm in the final stretch." For at least one more night, Johnson will pull on his No. 6 in the same building it will eventually hang. He will wear the dark blue of the Golden State Warriors, one of six teams for which he's played, but he will be back in front of his own fans, family and friends.