The San Antonio Spurs are building a huge wave of momentum toward the postseason, though it might not be big enough to get them a fourth straight Midwest Division title.
Pursuing the division lead and the Western Conference’s top seed, the Spurs seek a season-high ninth consecutive victory as they visit the Los Angeles Clippers.
“I think we’re focusing on the little details now and that is what has made the difference,” Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said. “We’ve been more aggressive on defense and we’ve been hitting our outside shots.”
San Antonio is the league’s hottest team with its eight-game win streak, but the team it is chasing refuses to back down. The Minnesota Timberwolves have won seven straight and sit atop the Midwest with a 1 1/2 -game lead over the Spurs, who have a game in hand.
“I’m real excited about the playoffs,” two-time reigning MVP Tim Duncan said. “We’re playing pretty well, moving the ball, playing great D, everyone knows their role.”
Duncan and Ginobili each scored 21 points in Friday’s 84-74 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
It was the fourth straight double-double for Duncan, who has averaged 19.2 points in the last six games despite averaging just 13 shots from the field during that stretch.
Ginobili, a top Sixth Man of the Year candidate, has averaged 17.3 points in the last six games.
San Antonio should have no trouble extending the hot streak as it faces the woeful Clippers, losers of 12 straight.
This is Los Angeles’ longest slide since dropping 17 in a row to open the 1998-99 season.
“We are not making open shots when we have them,” said coach Mike Dunleavy, whose Clippers have lost 20 of 22. “Of course, it’s easier to shoot when you are in front than when you’re behind. But that’s only part of it.”
The Clippers got no closer than 13 points in the second half of Wednesday’s 102-79 loss to Houston.
Los Angeles, which has lost seven straight at home, shares the West’s worst record with the Phoenix Suns.