Spurs likely headed to a 4th NBA title

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

During the past 27 games, of which San Antonio has won 24, the Spurs are giving up just 86.3 points per game and holding opponents to 43 percent shooting from the field.

The Spurs (57-21) have won nine straight games at home and still have a shot at a second consecutive 60-win season, but the Phoenix Suns are doing their best to keep them at bay.

Shawn Marion had 24 points and 10 rebounds as the Suns stayed two games ahead of San Antonio in the fight for the No. 2 playoff spot in the Western Conference with a 109-91 victory Wednesday night over the depleted Seattle Supersonics.

Should it come down to it, San Antonio holds the tiebreaker with the Suns.

The Spurs are 22-3 since the All-Star break, best of any team in the NBA. The Mavericks are 20-4 and the Phoenix Suns are 19-6.

Also, Robert Horry played for the first time in April on Wednesday against the Kings, after missing five games because of an abdominal contusion. Horry has been either inactive or didn't play in nine other games for San Antonio this year.

In 10 other games he played 10 minutes or fewer. But the playoffs loom, meaning Horry is healthy and ready to take on a more significant role.
"It's just one of those weird things where you really couldn't do any treatment for it and you really couldn't diagnose it except as an (abdominal) contusion," Horry said of the injury he sustained taking a charge on Seattle's Chris Wilcox on March 23. "A lot of people probably thought, 'Oh, that's just some kind of rest for the playoffs.' I haven't played enough this season to need a rest."

Horry entered Wednesday's game against Sacramento midway through the first period and played 10 minutes in San Antonio's victory, scoring a bucket in 11 minutes.

Don't look now, but Michael Finley is also heating up.

"He's playing confidently and he's been shooting well for quite a while now. It's important that he's playing defense and going to the boards as a perimeter player. He's playing a good all-around game." -- San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich on Michael Finley, who has been starting in place of the injured Brent Barry.

Barry returned Wednesday night in the Spurs' win over Sacramento after missing the previous four games with back spasms. Barry, who had been starting prior to his injury, came off the bench and had six points, four rebounds and three assists in 20 minutes.

The vast majority of fans who participated in a recent SpursReport poll think that Finley will have the most significant impact of any role player during the post-season.

Veteran Jacque Vaughn will also try to continue his quiet contributions for the team. He had 11 points in 14 minutes against the Kings, his second-highest scoring output of the season. Vaughn had 13 points in a blowout win over Seattle in late March.