Run-and-gun Spurs? Believe it

DALLAS -- The Spurs, a franchise that built a dynasty with an offense that operates at the pace of molasses, suddenly love to run.

Really. The stats don’t lie.

San Antonio ranks fourth in the NBA in fast-break points this season, averaging 16.8 per game. It’s not a coincidence that San Antonio’s offense has never been more efficient. The Spurs average a league-best 112.6 points per 100 possessions, which is also the best in team history, according to basketball-reference.com.

“I’m still not buying it,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “That’s the truth. That’s the truth. I don’t know what else to tell you. I ain’t buying it.

“It’s not who we are. We don’t do that. I don’t know how we’re scoring. I’ve got no clue.”

Not that Popovich has a problem with it.

It’s certainly working for the Spurs, who own the NBA’s best record at 27-4. They’re winning on a regular basis with surefire Hall of Famer Tim Duncan playing a supporting role on offense. Five Spurs are scoring in the double figures, with Duncan ranked fourth at 13.2 points per game.

“It’s definitely unusual,” Popovich said. “So I think it’s best if I don’t try to figure it out, because that would probably just screw it up.”

Popovich, of course, is just playing dumb. He gets credit for recognizing that the Spurs had the skilled athletes (Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Richard Jefferson and George Hill) to play at a faster tempo and is pushing them to do so.

Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson joked that his father, ol’ Nellie, negatively influenced old pal Popovich during card games in Hawaii with Willie Nelson. But the Spurs still don’t run recklessly and continue to have one of the league’s best halfcourt offenses. They play at the 12th-fastest pace in the league, but that’s a rapid increase for a team that typically ranks near the bottom.

“You look at your hand and you’re always constantly evolving,” Nelson said. “Gregg is one of the best coaches really in the history of the game if you think about it. So he’s taking advantage of some of the new personnel, and players evolved just like anything else. Hats off to them.”