Gameday Preview: Spurs vs. Lakers - 4/16/14
Though the San Antonio Spurs are one win shy of matching their single-season record, don't expect coach Gregg Popovich to sacrifice rest for his top players in their final game.
San Antonio hosts the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night.
The Spurs (62-19) have wrapped up the top seed in the Western Conference for the third time in four years after finishing two games behind Oklahoma City last season. That hasn't been a guarantee of postseason success - they lost to the Thunder in the Western Conference finals in 2012 and fell to Memphis in the first round in 2011 - and tying the team mark for victories hardly seems to be a priority for Popovich.
He played Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili fewer than 25 minutes apiece in a 104-98 loss at Houston on Monday, apparently uninterested in the proximity of San Antonio's best-ever mark of 63-19 set in 2005-06.
Marco Belinelli, the only Spur to play more than 30 minutes, scored 17 points to lead seven San Antonio players in double figures.
"We definitely did what we wanted to do. We were able to play everybody - no injuries - and we got a good sweat out of it," said Parker, who scored 10 in 26 minutes.
The point guard has scored 24 or more in four of his last eight against Los Angeles while shooting 57.8 percent from the field in that span.
"We have one more game and will try to do the same thing," Parker said. "Fifteen or 20 minutes for everybody and make sure we stay in shape and be ready for either Saturday or Sunday."
The Spurs have won seven of eight against the Lakers and are aiming for their first season sweep since 2004-05.
Los Angeles will likely look dramatically different next season after missing the playoffs for just the third time since 1976-77. Though the Lakers (26-55) ended a seven-game skid Monday with a 119-104 win at
Utah, Wednesday's contest could be the last with coach Mike D'Antoni on the sideline. D'Antoni is 66-87 in two years with the team, including the franchise's worst-ever record this season since moving to Los Angeles.
The Lakers' roster will almost certainly undergo significant change with 12 of 15 players eligible for free agency. Nick Young, who has a player option for 2013-14, finished two shy of his career high with 41 points against the Jazz.
"You have to find the joy even when you may be frustrated with the way things have been going," said Young, averaging 21.9 points and shooting 45.5 percent from 3-point range in his last 14 games after injuries sidelined him for 17 of the previous 18.
Young, though, has averaged 8.6 points and 33.0 percent shooting in 10 career matchups with San Antonio.
Los Angeles shot 37.9 percent in the first three meetings compared to 47.4 percent for the Spurs.
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