The San Antonio Spurs took advantage of an easy portion in their schedule to get on track after a poor start to the season.
Things are about to get much tougher.
The Spurs host the Boston Celtics on Thursday as both teams go for their sixth straight win.
San Antonio (9-6) lost six of its first 10 games to post the worst start in the Tim Duncan era.
An ankle injury caused Duncan to miss two victories during that stretch, but he's been a key factor during the current five-game winning streak, averaging 20.6 points and 9.8 rebounds. He's led the team in scoring in three of the wins, including a 97-89 victory over Philadelphia on Sunday.
The Spurs held the 76ers to 39.3 percent shooting and gave up fewer than 90 points for the third time during the win streak. They are yielding an average of 91.8 points in the last five games - seven fewer than the first 10 games.
"We really shouldn't care that much about winning five in a row," said Manu Ginobili, who returned Sunday after missing five games with a strained groin and finished with eight points and three turnovers in 17 minutes.
"It's always good. It helps your confidence, and of course your standings, but we still believe we've got a long way to go."
Ginobili and the Spurs may be hesitant to make too much of the winning streak given the quality of the opponents. Three of the teams they defeated have losing records and the other two - Houston and Milwaukee - have spent much of the season hovering around .500.
San Antonio's upcoming schedule should provide a bigger test, with home games against division leaders Boston and Denver before Monday's visit to Utah, which has won six of seven.
However, not all the Spurs see the upcoming game against the Celtics (14-4) as a measuring stick.
"Right now, neither team is going to be as sharp as they'd like," Richard Jefferson said. "I think both teams are going to be a lot better later in the season. ... We're standing firm with (coach Greg Popovich) that we're learning, we're all trying to get better from day to day."
The Spurs haven't won six in a row since Dec. 4-14, 2008.
Boston brings its own five-game winning streak into San Antonio as it continues a four-game road trip. The Celtics beat Charlotte 108-90 on Tuesday behind Ray Allen's best performance of the season.
Allen came in averaging 15.2 points but finished with 27 - he scored more than 20 in only one other game all season - and hit five of his six 3-point attempts. He had been 7 for 27 from beyond the arc in the previous six games.
"I put some baby oil on the rim," Allen said, smiling. "I said earlier I had to just put it in, just swish the ball, not even mess around with the rim. It's really all a body thing, just getting your legs in the air and being consistent."
Allen regaining his shooting touch adds another weapon to an offense averaging 107.2 points and shooting 51.6 percent over the winning streak. Paul Pierce averaged 26.0 points in the first three games of it, although he's been held to a combined 23 in the last two. He was 3 of 8 from the field Tuesday to finish with a season-low eight points.
Boston and San Antonio split their two games last season with each winning on the other team's court. The Celtics have won three in a row at the AT&T Center.
No Asterisks in this life, it's all about scoreboard - Ari Gold
WHOOOOHOOOOO!!!!! I'm excited! Spurs win in a defensive battle
I think he's going to be a star. And as time goes on, he'll be the face of the Spurs, I think.--- Coach Pop on Leonard
Last edited by esparzar1; 12-03-09 at 05:06 PM.
NBA.com - Referee Assignments
Dec 3, 2009
Boston @ San Antonio--Dick Bavetta, Bennie Adams, Marc Davis
In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.
We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
---Winston Churchill (1903)
I think it'll be a squeaker. I want this game a LOT. GSG and beat them. Maybe Blair can stand up to KG.
Badgerland's #1 Spurs fan.
Still crazy after all these years.
I like RJ but he seems to be not trying all out on defense.
A pathetic performance on national television and Spurs haven't beaten anyone impressive this year outside of the Mavs and couple of other teams.
It's been 16 games and the defense looks slow (which has been the past two years) and this team doesn't have a fire or spark it needs.
Disappointing execution for much of the game.
This team needs Manu and Blair on the floor to win games-- by that, I mean their energy is contagious, and guys like RJ catch it and play harder. I actually saw RJ hustle a few times in the 4th quarter.
Very disappointing loss, but the problems were eminently fixable, so I'm optimistic.
Game was lost but not all lost, some bad moments getting down alot only to have a run late. Try not getting down 13 or so and the Spurs win these games, they have to have the energy guys out there to get them going sooner. Mason is just worthless alot of times, Bonner did nothing as well tonight, get Manu and Blair out there more in their place Just my thoughts.
Win or lose this is a game -
You could let it pick your brain for weeks and months, just replay it over and over, won't do you any good at all. When someone loses a loved one and they do that it only brings forth anguish. I feel acceptance is sometimes the key, it happened, now you have to react to it. Giving up is not an option.
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