Spurs beat Pacers for franchise-record 18th straight win, complete perfect March
One year after the Heat went streaking on their way to a second straight title, Miami's 2013 Finals foe is rattling off an incredibly impressive run of its own.
The Spurs set a franchise record by winning their 18th consecutive game when they defeated the Pacers 103-77 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Monday. The victory completed a perfect 16-0 record in March.
San Antonio has long been the NBA's standard for consistent excellence under coach Gregg Popovich, and its current streak epitomizes everything that has made the franchise so well-respected: unselfish offense, disciplined defense, an ability to rise to the challenge of the league's elite while also maintaining focus against weaker opposition and a comfort claiming victories both at home and on the road.
The Spurs improved their league-best road record to 29-8 by blowing out the Pacers, who possess the league's best home record at 33-5. San Antonio claimed a 26-point win; prior to Monday, Indiana's worst defeats at home this season had been by eight points to the Suns and Mavericks.
''Great streak right now, this was a good win for us tonight,'' Tim Duncan said, according to the Associated Press. ''To continue the streak, all that is good. We'll worry about a couple of things, staying healthy, finishing the season strong and hopefully going into the playoffs with the confidence we're playing with now.''
Throughout the streak, San Antonio's overall level of dominance has been staggering. Starting with the victory over the Pistons on Feb. 26, the Spurs rank No. 1 in the NBA in all of the following categories: offensive efficiency, defensive efficiency, point differential, points, field goal percentage, three-point percentage, true shooting percentage, effective field goal percentage, assist-to-turnover ratio, blocks and defensive rebounds.
Along the way, seven different players -- Marco Belinelli, Austin Daye, Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, Patty Mills and Tony Parker -- have led the Spurs in scoring, a mark that reflects their depth, balance, ball movement and commitment to their offensive system.
Here's a quick look at San Antonio's streak by the numbers...
- Average margin of victory: 16.6 points
- Average points scored: 111.2 points
- Average points conceded: 94.7 points
- Number of days since San Antonio's last loss: 38
- Number of victories by 10+ points: 13
- Number of victories by 20+ points: 7
- Number of victories by 30+ points: 2
- Number of victories by less than five points: 0
The Spurs previously won 17 consecutive games during the 1995-96 season. Their current 18-game streak ties them for the seventh-longest, single-season winning streak in NBA history. Six of the other nine teams to win at least 18 games in a row during the same season went on to win the NBA title. That includes the 2012-13 Heat, who won 27 regular season games in a row en route to the championship.
NBA's longest winning streaks (within one season)
- 33 games -- 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers -- NBA champions
- 27 games -- 2012-13 Miami Heat -- NBA champions
- 22 games -- 2007-08 Houston Rockets
- 20 games -- 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks -- NBA champions
- 19 games -- 1999-2000 Los Angeles Lakers -- NBA champions
- 19 games -- 2008-09 Boston Celtics
- 18 games -- 1969-70 New York Knicks -- NBA champions
- 18 games -- 1981-82 Boston Celtics
- 18 games -- 1995-96 Chicago Bulls -- NBA champions
- 18 games -- 2013-14 San Antonio Spurs
ESPN.com reports that the Spurs join the 1994 Knicks and the 1973 Bucks as the only teams to ever go unbeaten in March.
If the Spurs were to win out the rest of their 2013-14 regular season schedule, which wouldn't be easy given that the difficulty of their schedule is about to pick up, they would complete the year on a 26-game winning streak.
"I don't think we're going to be undefeated going into the playoffs, so it's not really about that," Popovich said, according to the San Antonio Express-News. "You may win a game or lose a game, but if you're at the top of your game execution-wise, you feel pretty good going into the playoffs."
Parker led San Antonio with 22 points (on 10-for-18 shooting) and four assists on Monday. Boris Diaw chipped in 14 points (on 5-for-8 shooting), four rebounds and four assists in the win.
Paul George paced Indiana with 16 points (on 5-for-13 shooting), six rebounds and five assists. Roy Hibbbert added 15 points (on 5-for-13 shooting) and seven rebounds in a losing effort.