SAN ANTONIO -- Gregg Popovich’s blank stare on Wednesday previewed what he would say when asked what it meant for the San Antonio Spurs to run off their 38th consecutive home victory and set a record for the best home start in NBA history.
“Absolutely nothing,” Popovich said. “Maybe a cup of coffee. Maybe.”
While observers might view what’s percolating in San Antonio as special, the Spurs consider the regular-season accolades meaningless if they’re walking away in June without a championship trophy in hand. Most made that abundantly clear in a business-as-usual locker room on the heels of San Antonio’s 100-92 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.
“The only thing I see is that we can try and win a championship,” point guard Tony Parker said. “I don’t really think about having a good regular season, how many games we won. It doesn’t matter, because at the end of the day, the only thing you remember is how many championships you won.”
The victory over New Orleans marked the Spurs' 47th regular-season home triumph in a row dating back to last season, which ranks as the second-best streak in league history. In addition, the Spurs tied a franchise record for regular-season wins (63), as Manu Ginobili scored a game-high 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting to lead the charge.
Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard chipped in 16 points apiece, followed by LaMarcus Aldridge with 11 as the team’s starters played together for the first time since March 23, when the Spurs downed the Miami Heat 119-101. Popovich also made sure to rest veterans David West and Andre Miller as the team preps for the start of the postseason.
“Yeah, we tried to push them a little bit and get them more minutes,” Popovich said of the extra minutes for the starters. “I normally wouldn’t have been playing Tony and Manu in that situation, but it was more about the minutes and Timmy [Duncan] getting a long run in the second half just to up their conditioning a little bit.”
Ginobili hadn’t played since March 25, as the club deactivated him for matchups on Saturday and Monday at Oklahoma City and Memphis. Ginobili’s last extended rest came in February as the result of testicular surgery, which kept him out of 12 games. Upon return from that setback, Ginobili racked up a season-high 22 points in 15 minutes. After this latest two-game rest, Ginobili came back to the lineup and lit up the Pelicans on 5 of 6 from 3-point range for another 20-point night while tying Leonard for the team high in steals at three.
San Antonio faces Toronto, Golden State and Oklahoma City in its next three home games.
Parker said earlier in the week that he doesn’t expect Popovich to play all the front-line players in either of the remaining matchups against the Warriors (April 7 and April 10). Parker reiterated that point at Wednesday's shootaround and said it “doesn’t matter to me” when asked about the importance of the club’s current home streak.
Ginobili echoed those sentiments.
“No, it really doesn’t [matter],” Ginobili said. “If we would have lost Game 24, and now we are 37-1, it wouldn’t make that much of a difference. Having a 38-game streak or 37-1 is unbelievable, anyway. So I really don’t care about streaks. We know we are having a great season. If we would have lost one more or two more, it wouldn’t change that.”
Both the Warriors and Spurs could finish the season with 41-0 marks at home. That scenario, however, seems more plausible for the Warriors than the Spurs, who have no interest in expending unnecessary energy trying to chase home perfection.
“I know it is something very hard to accomplish, but it shouldn’t take away anything if you go 40-1. It’s just one game,” Ginobili said. “Besides that, we are playing great and have had a great season so far, and we’ve got to keep building because the playoffs are a couple weeks away, and that’s when we want to be the best team we can be.”
Maybe then, just maybe, the Spurs might be in the position to earn something more meaningful than a cup of coffee.