The San Antonio Spurs aren’t quite the toast of the NBA through the season’s first half, but that’s only because of the Warriors. If Golden State wasn’t chasing history, San Antonio would be the favorites to take home the chip. In fact, defensively, San Antonio is certainly better — at least according to the numbers — and they have a higher net rating and margin of victory so far this season, even if they also have four more losses than this year’s NBA record-eyeing team.
Right now the Spurs are No. 1 in defensive rating, giving up just 93.6 points per 100 possessions, with the next-best team, Boston, at 97.9. That’s a pretty significant difference between No. 1 and No. 2 defensive teams in the Association. For comparison’s sake, the Warriors — perhaps the greatest offensive juggernaut of all time — lead the league in offensive efficiency at 112.5 points per 100 possessions. But their lead over the Thunder at No. 2 isn’t as dominating as the Spurs are on the defensive end; the Thunder score 109.5 points per 100 possessions.
Perhaps that’s why Marc Stein’s tweets this morning shouldn’t be that surprising, even though they made us do a double take.
He mentioned a 3-pointer Jose Calderon took in the fourth quarter of the 100-99 Spurs win over the Knicks on Friday night. It was just the third time all season an opposing team had even attempted a shot to take the lead in San Antonio during the final period.