The San Antonio Spurs usually coast through most of the regular season before turning up the intensity for a playoff push.
That late surge has been delayed this season due to injuries to their "Big Three," but that's about to change.
For the first time in six weeks, the Spurs expect to have Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili in the lineup together Friday night when they host the lowly Los Angeles Clippers, who haven't won in San Antonio in seven years.
"In San Antonio there are high expectations," said Parker, who had 42 points in Wednesday's 102-92 victory over Atlanta. "Nobody cares if Manu is out for 30 games and Timmy is in and out. They want to see us in the top and that's what we're trying to do."
Ginobili returned Wednesday after missing 19 games with a right ankle injury, but San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich decided to rest Duncan the day after a 107-106 win over Golden State.
Duncan, who already sat out back-to-back games earlier this month to rest his knees, is expected to return against the Clippers (18-54). Duncan, Parker and Ginobili have not been in the lineup together since a 91-89 loss at Toronto on Feb. 11.
San Antonio's lineup being at full strength does not bode well for Los Angeles. The Spurs have won 11 straight over the Clippers since a 98-85 loss March 7, 2006, outscoring them by an average of 25.0 points in the last two.
The Spurs have also won 12 consecutive home games over Los Angeles since a 91-87 defeat Jan. 31, 2002, and 21 of the last 22 in San Antonio.
The Clippers have won three of their last 20 road games but are coming off Wednesday's 140-135 overtime victory at New York that snapped a nine-game road losing streak.