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San Antonio Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford has been named the 2015-16 NBA Basketball Executive of the Year, the NBA announced today. Buford, in his 14th season as the team’s general manager, previously won the award in 2013-14.

Buford totaled 77 points and received nine of 29 first-place votes from a panel of fellow team basketball executives throughout the NBA.

The Portland Trail Blazers’ Neil Olshey finished second with 63 points (10 first-place votes), and 2014-15 winner Bob Myers of the Golden State Warriors was third with 38 points (five first-place votes). Executives were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.

Buford assembled a roster that produced the best record in franchise history (67-15). The Spurs won at least 50 games for the 17th consecutive season and captured their fifth Southwest Division title in the past six years. San Antonio finished the regular season 40-1 at home, matching the NBA record set by the 1985-86 Boston Celtics.

Fueled by two-time reigning Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio led the NBA in points allowed (92.9 ppg) and defensive rating (96.6 points per 100 possessions). Leonard, acquired by San Antonio on draft night in 2011, also averaged a career-high 21.2 points, ranked third in the NBA in three-point field goal percentage (44.3) and earned his first All-Star selection. He re-signed with the Spurs last July, just as Tim Duncan, Danny Green and Manu Ginobili did.

Also in July, San Antonio’s salary-cap management enabled Buford and Head Coach/President Gregg Popovich to sign free agent LaMarcus Aldridge to a team that went 55-27 in the 2014-15 season. Aldridge averaged 18.0 points and a team-high 8.5 rebounds and shot a career-high 51.3 percent from the field in his first season with the Spurs, earning his fifth consecutive All-Star selection.

San Antonio’s moves for this season also included signing two-time All-Star David West, three-time Serbian Super League MVP Boban Marjanovic and undrafted rookie Jonathon Simmons, who was the MVP of the championship game at Samsung NBA Summer League 2015. All three players, along with 2014 first-round pick Kyle Anderson, contributed to the Spurs’ bench, which led the NBA in net rating (outscoring opponents by 10.9 points per 100 possessions) and ranked third in scoring (39.2 ppg).

The Grizzlies are without several of their best players, and in big trouble in their first-round NBA playoff series against the mighty Spurs. Here’s the Memphis Commercial Appeal reporting:

Matt Barnes says Grizzlies need to change gameplan

After the Grizzlies scored their fewest points in the postseason during their 94-68 Game 2 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, journeyman forward Matt Barnes had a suggestion or two or 10.

“We’ve got to roll the dice a little bit. We’ve got to play small, play fast. We’re coming to a gunfight with some spoons,” Barnes said. “We’ve got to do something to try to switch this up at home next game. It’s very frustrating.”

Memphis is 0-16 all-time when scoring 86 points or less in the postseason. San Antonio is responsible for six of those losses.

“You can credit their defense a little bit,” Barnes said, “but you’ve got to put the onus on us to make shots.”

Indeed.

The San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard, who helped the team finish with the NBA’s top defense this season, is the recipient of the 2015-16 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, the NBA announced today. Leonard, a 6-7 forward, becomes the first non-center to earn the honor in back-to-back seasons since Dennis Rodman in 1989-90 and 1990-91.

Leonard received 84 first-place votes and 547 total points from a panel of 130 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. He edged the Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green, who tallied 44 first-place votes and 421 points to finish as runner-up for the second season in a row. The Miami Heat’s Hassan Whiteside was third with 83 points (two first-place votes). Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.

A first-time NBA All-Star this season, Leonard contributed to a San Antonio defense that led the NBA in points allowed (92.9 ppg) and defensive rating (96.6 points per 100 possessions). The Spurs, a franchise-record 67-15 this season, were even stingier on defense with Leonard in the game: According to NBA.com/Stats, they had a defensive rating of 94.9 when the five-year veteran was on the court and 99.2 when he wasn’t – a difference of 4.3 points per 100 possessions. Leonard also averaged 1.78 steals (12th in the NBA), 5.5 defensive rebounds and a career-high 0.99 blocks to go with career highs on offense of 21.2 points and 2.6 assists.

Spurs set NBA record for home wins

The Spurs have set an NBA record with 39 consecutive home wins to start a season, leaving them two victories from the first perfect home regular-season record in league history. San Antonio’s final two home games are Sunday against the Warriors and Tuesday, April 12 against Oklahoma City (8 p.m. ET, TNT). Overall, the Spurs have won 48 straight home regular-season games, the second-longest streak in NBA history behind 54 games by the Warriors, whose run ended with a loss to Boston on April 1. The Spurs’ last regular-season home loss was March 12, 2015, a 128-125 overtime defeat to the Cavaliers in which Cleveland guard Kyrie Irving scored 57 points, an NBA high for the 2014-15 season.

Spurs set an NBA record for home wins

With their win on Wednesday over the Pelicans, the Spurs set the NBA record for most consecutive home victories (38) to open a season. San Antonio also tied the franchise record for wins in a season with 63, set in 2005-06. For Tim Duncan, it was his 998th win as a member of the Spurs dating back to 1997. Duncan is poised to join Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,074) and Robert Parish (1,014) as the only players in history with 1,000 victories. Duncan holds the record for most victories with one team, ahead of John Stockton, who won 953 games with the Jazz. The Spurs host the Raptors on Saturday before embarking on a three-game road trip against the Jazz, Warriors and Nuggets.

– NBA News

LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points and 13 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Golden State Warriors 87-79 on Saturday night to remain perfect at the AT&T Center this season and extend their home dominance over the defending champions to 33 straight regular-season games.

Kawhi Leonard added 18 points and 14 rebounds for San Antonio, which has won 44 straight at home in the regular season, tied for the second-longest streak in NBA history.

The Spurs held Warriors superstar Stephen Curry to 14 points while limiting him to 1-for-12 shooting on 3-pointers.

– AP

Spurs keep winning at home, beat Blazers

nba blog

The Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday became the latest victim of San Antonio’s AT&T Center.

With a little shooting from forward LaMarcus Aldridge, a lot of passing from guard Tony Parker and a host of contributions up and down the roster, the Spurs beat the Blazers 118-110, sweeping the three-game season series.

San Antonio (58-10) won its 43rd consecutive game at AT&T Center, improving to a perfect 34-0 at home this season.

Aldridge finished with 22 points and six rebounds, Parker recorded 18 points and 16 assists and Kawhi Leonard added 22 points and three blocks for the balanced Spurs, who received scoring from 10 players.

– Oregonian

On the Warriors and Spurs

In the NBA’s Western Conference race, the Golden State Warriors (59-6) lead the San Antonio Spurs (56-10) by 3.5 games for the No. 1 seed. The NBA’s top two teams, both unbeaten at home and newly crowned division champions, play three more times in the regular season, starting in San Antonio on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC. The Warriors have lost 32 consecutive regular-season games at San Antonio, their last victory coming Feb. 14, 1997. (The Warriors did win at San Antonio during the 2013 playoffs.) The Spurs and Warriors also meet Thursday, April 7 at Golden State (10:30 p.m., TNT) and Sunday, April 10 at San Antonio (7 p.m., NBA TV).

Spurs sign Kevin Martin

Spurs sign Kevin Martin

The San Antonio Spurs signed scoring guard Kevin Martin today. This moves comes just after waiving veteran Rasual Butler.

Martin, 6-7/200, began the season with the Timberwolves and averaged 10.6 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 21.4 minutes over 39 games. He was in his third season with Minnesota before being waived on March 1.

Even though they’re very different than the Timberwolves, San Antonio will likely use Martin in similar fashion: as scoring punch in limited munutes off the bench.

The former Western Carolina guard was drafted by Sacramento in the first round of the 2004 NBA Draft (26th overall) and played part of six seasons with the Kings before being traded to Houston in 2010. After two-plus years with the Rockets, Martin was dealt to Oklahoma City where he spent the 2012-13 season before being sent to Minnesota the following summer. Martin holds career averages of 17.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists while shooting .438 from the floor, .385 from three-point range and .870 from the free throw line in 698 career appearances.

Martin is one of just five active players with over 1,000 three-pointers while shooting at least 38.0 percent from beyond the arc for their career, along with Stephen Curry, Kyle Korver, Mike Miller and Dirk Nowitzki.

Martin will wear No. 23 for the Spurs.

Spurs waive Rasual Butler

Spurs waive Rasual Butler

The San Antonio Spurs requested waivers on forward Rasual Butler today.

Butler, who was in his first season with San Antonio, was signed as a free agent on Sept. 28, 2015. He saw action in 46 games for the Silver and Black but played limited minutes, averaging 2.7 points and 1.2 rebounds in 9.4 minutes.

A 13-year NBA veteran, Butler has played in 809 career games, averaging 7.5 points and 2.4 rebounds in 21.3 minutes.

The Spurs roster now stands at 14.

Manu Ginobili returning for Spurs

Manu Ginobili returning for Spurs

Manu Ginobili, who has been sidelined for a month after having testicular surgery February 4, will play in today’s game against the Sacramento Kings.

Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said there’s “not really” a minutes restriction on Ginobili, who has out for the team’s last 12 games.

San Antonio has won seven games in a row, and are undefeated while playing at home (29-0). They are in second place in the Western Conference with a 52-9 record, and are just 3.5 games behind the first-place Golden State Warriors.

– San Antonio Express-News

Spurs sign Andre Miller

Spurs sign Andre Miller

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have signed guard Andre Miller.

Miller, 6-3/200, ranks ninth in NBA history in assists and has handed out 8,495 helpers in his career. The 17-year veteran started this season with Minnesota, averaging 3.4 points and 2.2 assists in 10.8 minutes while shooting .621 (36-58) from the field over 26 games before being waived by the Timberwolves on Feb. 25.

Originally drafted by Cleveland as the eighth overall pick in the first round of the 1999 NBA Draft, Miller has played for a total of eight teams, including the LA Clippers, Denver, Philadelphia, Portland, Washington and Sacramento. The former University of Utah guard holds career averages of 12.6 points, 6.6 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.19 steals in 31.1 minutes while shooting .460 from the floor and .807 from the free throw line in 1,291 career appearances, which ranks 20th all-time.

Miller will wear number 24 for the Spurs.

Spurs waive Ray McCallum

The San Antonio Spurs requested waivers on guard Ray McCallum today.

McCallum, who was in his first season with the Spurs, was acquired from the Sacramento Kings in exchange for a future second round draft pick on July 9, 2015. He saw action in 31 games for the Silver and Black, averaging 2.2 points, 1.1 assists and 1.0 rebounds in 8.3 minutes.

A three-year NBA veteran, McCallum has appeared in 144 career games, averaging 5.9 points, 2.4 assists and 2.0 rebounds in 18.0 minutes.

The Spurs roster now stands at 14.

manu ginobili injury

Manu Ginobili underwent surgery earlier today in San Antonio after suffering a testicular injury in last night’s Spurs-Pelicans game.

Ginobili, who is out indefinitely, will be sidelined for at least one month.

The Spurs are 41-8 this season, second only to the 45-4 Warriors. Ginobili is averaging just 10.0 points in 19.7 minutes per game and has come off the bench for all 43 of the games he’s played.

Pistons unable to upset Spurs

As is usually the case in this era of the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs are one of the league’s best teams this season. On Tuesday they won their 9th game in a row. Here’s Michigan Live reporting:

Stan Van Gundy could only shake his head.

Tony Parker had just scored a season-high 31 points, newcomer LaMarcus Aldridge 25, and the aging San Antonio Spurs, playing some of the best basketball in the NBA today, handed the Detroit Pistons a 109-99 defeat Tuesday night in front of 14,273 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

His team had only played to their potential half the time, Van Gundy said, making it a game down the stretch before the Spurs used their multiple scoring threats to bludgeon Detroit for good.

“Look. They’re very, very good,” Van Gundy said. “But we came out, started the game … we played hard with good energy, defended. Then they went to their bench and their bench destroyed us in the first half. Then our starters came with nothing to start the second half defensively. Absolutely nothing.”

scott skiles

The Orlando Magic’s Scott Skiles and the San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month, respectively, for games played in December.

Skiles led the Magic to the East’s best month at 10-5 (.667). Orlando went 5-3 at home and 5-2 on the road. On the defensive end, the Magic held opponents to 96.6 points in December, the fourth-stingiest mark in the NBA. On the offensive end, Orlando shot 48.1 percent as a team in December, third-best in the league and tops in the Eastern Conference.

gregg popovich

Popovich guided the Spurs to the league’s best record in December at 14-2 (.875). San Antonio went 10-0 at home, and at the end of December owned a 19-0 mark at AT&T Center. The Spurs, who surrendered 100-plus points in only two of 16 December games, held opponents to a league-low 87.1 points – a mark more than six points better than that of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who ranked second at 93.2 points allowed.

Other nominees for Coach of the Month were Atlanta’s Mike Budenholzer, Cleveland’s David Blatt, Detroit’s Stan Van Gundy, Golden State’s Luke Walton, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Doc Rivers, Oklahoma City’s Billy Donovan and Toronto’s Dwane Casey.

Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson and San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard were today named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Dec. 14 through Sunday, Dec. 20.

Jackson led the Pistons to a 2-1 week, averaging 29.3 points (first in the conference), 6.3 rebounds and 7.7 assists (second in the conference). He scored 30 or more points in two of the three games and had 23 points in the third. On Dec. 18, Jackson scored 13 of Detroit’s 20 points in the fourth and final overtime period to lead the Pistons to a 147-144 win over the Chicago Bulls.

Leonard led San Antonio to a 3-0 record behind averages of 22.7 points (eighth in the conference), 6.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.0 steals. He shot 56.4 percent from the field and scored 22 or more points in two games. On Dec. 16, Leonard made four three-pointers on his way to 27 points and added four assists, four steals and three rebounds in a 114-95 victory over the Washington Wizards.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Paul Millsap, Cleveland’s LeBron James, Detroit’s Andre Drummond, Golden State’s Klay Thompson, Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins, New York’s Carmelo Anthony, Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan.

The San Antonio Spurs are 22-5 this season — the second best record in the legaue behind the 25-1 Warriors. LaMarcus Aldridge has been as good an addition to the Spurs as expected. Here’s ESPN.com reporting:

LaMarcus Aldridge fitting in well with Spurs

The Los Angeles Clippers face the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night (8 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN), their first meeting since Chris Paul’s game-winning shot with one second left in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series in the spring. It is the latest game-winning field goal in a Game 7 in NBA history.

LaMarcus Aldridge, probably the biggest offseason acquisition by the Spurs, has ratcheted up his production in his last 13 games, since he came back after a two-game absence due to an ankle sprain. Since his return, Aldridge has been averaging more points and shooting a higher percentage while playing fewer minutes…

Aldridge is starting to make open jumpers. On shots farther than 10 feet from the basket, Aldridge is making 47 percent of his open jumpers in the last 13 games, compared with 37 percent in the first 12 games (Source: NBA SportsVU Player Tracking Data). Open shots are defined as shots in which the defender was more than 4 feet from the shooter at the time of the shot.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is always worth listening to — at least when he’s actually willing to talk and answer a question in straightforward fashion. Here’s the Los Angeles Times reporting Popovich’s views on Lakers great Kobe Bryant’s announcement that he will wrap up his career at season’s end:

Coach Gregg Popovich said he wasn’t surprised when Kobe Bryant announced this would be his final season, though Popovich added that the league will definitely be taking a hit.

“It will be a great personality gone,” Popovich said Friday before the Lakers played the Spurs. “He’s an iconic figure, and when those kind of guys stop playing, the league misses them. You miss them.”

Popovich said Bryant’s consistent intensity was a rarity.

“There aren’t too many people who understand how you bring it, night after night after night, for all those years at that level, and he’s one of the few guys who did that,” Popovich said.

Raptors step up and beat Spurs

Wednesday night in Toronto the Raptors defended home court and beat the San Antonio Spurs 97-94. It was only the Spurs’ 5th loss of the season. In the win, DeMar DeRozan shot 10-15 for 28 points and six assists, while Kyle Lowry had 19 points and eight assists. Here’s the Toronto Star reporting:

It’s a dangerous game but a fun one, watching a team rise to the level of good opposition and sink to the level of bad.

It can’t be a lot of fun when they lose to supposedly inferior opposition but when it goes the other way, it can be an awfully good for their souls.

The Raptors, who typify that up-and-down existence like few teams in the NBA, did it again Wednesday, upsetting the San Antonio Spurs 97-94 at the Air Canada Centre, battling injuries and foul trouble with a patchwork rotation for a well-deserved wire-to-wire victory.

It was a gut-check win for the Raptors, now 14-9, against the 18-5 Spurs, who had won nine of 10 coming into the game.

It was sealed with fewer than 10 seconds left when DeMar DeRozan, capping perhaps his best game of the season, scooped up an offensive rebound of a Kyle Lowry miss and Toronto ahead by just three.

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