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Memo: Spurs Maintain Pulse Even In January

Entering Wednesday's nationally televised match-up with the Lakers, pundits around the league had been indicating that they are collectively not sold on this San Antonio Spurs team.

Yes, the Spurs have classically been known not to sweat the 'little stuff' that is the regular season, but prior to Wednesday night, they remained just 5-5 in January, sitting at fifth place in the Western Conference.  My boy David Southern Hospitality Incarnate Thiessen over at Spur of the Moment even felt compelled to write a satirical this-team-isn't-the-same piece just to accentuate the fact that something is more than a bit off-kilter with the boys from the Alamo.

DT's piece is right on the money, and it is definitely worth a read.  It is a wryly humorous piece to demonstrate the understanding that there is something missing right now.

But you wouldn't know it from watching the second half the Spurs played on Wednesday night.

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That would be the second half in which the Spurs outscored the Lakers by 21 points to turn a nine-point halftime deficit into a 12-point victory when all was said and done.  That would also be the second half in which the Spurs held the Lakers to a paltry 37 points after 54 in the first half.

For at least one night, the Spurs were back to doing what the Spurs do.

They played defense.  They dished the ball around.  Three players (Duncan, Parker, Ginobili) had at least four assists.

And perhaps most importantly, the Spurs both took the ball away and protected it once they had it.

The most telling stat of the game was that of the turnovers: Kobe Bryant had nine.  The Spurs had eight.  The Lakers as a team finished with 22, largely courtesy of Manu Ginobili's 8 steals.

That in mind, it comes as no shock that the Spurs took ten more shots from the field than the Lakers did and only three less foul shots.  And it is no surprise that the Spurs took care of business when all was said and done.

Even in basketball's dog days of January, San Antonio Spurs basketball shows itself when it is needed most. 

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