The Spurs road-winning streak came to an end at 13, one shy of the record, after a 95-91 loss to the Bulls. Head coach Gregg Popovich hardly thought the Spurs deserved the streak to begin with — they just aren’t playing that well, by Popovich’s way of seeing. Their 5-4 record at home seems to bear out Pop’s assessment better than their road domination. The Spurs routinely come out flat, observers like Popovich and center Pau Gasol say, and manage to survive and surge late most nights based on their superior talent. That won’t get them far in the long run.
Maybe it’s because they don’t practice so much? But then you’d have to determine this: does the lack of practice inform the lackadaisical starts or the strong finishes that created the streak? That will remain forever a mystery, of course. But Popovich continues his time-honored practice of getting his players rest — for example, Manu Ginobili played 18 minutes against Chicago after not playing at all the game before. And full practices aren’t part of the Spurs routine right now. As reason for favoring the games over practice, Popovich cites Wilt Chamberlain‘s famous saying, one which makes Wilt a precursor to Allen Iverson‘s famous “practice” rant. Chamberlain said: “You want it this morning or you want it tonight?”