San Antonio Spurs Clinched Top Seed in Western Conference

by April 24, 2012

The San Antonio Spurs’ rout of the Portland Trailblazers last night clinched the #1 seed in the West for the Spurs (for the second straight year.) San Antonio has been really good, for a really long time. From the Express-News: “Monday’s victory, the Spurs’ eighth in a row — and a franchise-record eighth straight to come by double digits — cemented the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed. The Spurs head into their final two games of the regular season, a back-to-back at Phoenix and Golden State beginning Wednesday, with little to play for, and plenty of impetus to treat them as warm-up outings. After watching Manu Ginobili leave last season’s finale at Phoenix’s US Airways Center with a fractured right elbow, essentially ruining a 61-victory campaign, expect coach Gregg Popovich to play the next two games safe. Tim Duncan scored 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting Monday, took the fourth quarter off, then reminded everyone what happened last season, when a No. 1 seed turned into a first-round ouster against Memphis. ‘It doesn’t mean anything,’ Duncan said. ‘It’s great to have that home-court advantage and be in that situation, but as we showed last year, someone can sneak up and take you out.’ Now locked into the top slot, the Spurs will face either Phoenix or Utah in the first round. The Spurs do have one bauble left for which to play. At 48-16, they are tied with Chicago for the NBA’s best overall record — and home-court advantage during a potential Finals matchup — and must keep winning to keep pace. Faced with a nearly identical scenario last season, Popovich showed little interest in taxing his players to outdo the Bulls. ‘Everybody wants to go into the playoffs healthy, and with energy and rhythm,’ Popovich said. ‘Hopefully, that’s the position we’re in.'”