The only six NBA teams to win at least 43 of their first 53 games have all ended up winning the NBA Finals. The Spurs hope to become the seventh, improving their league-leading record to 43-8 with their 100-89 victory over the Detroit Pistons.
Despite leading the Western Conference by seven games, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich isn't buying into to the hype created by his team's fast start.
"There are teams playing better than we are," Popovich said after the game. "Just because we have the best record doesn’t mean we are the best team. To be what we have to be we to be better defensively."
Popovich sees teams like the Boston Celtics and their four All-Stars, who are right behind the Spurs with a 38-13 record to lead the East, and understands that beating weak teams, like the Pistons, doesn't mean you can beat the elites, like the Celtics, that it will take to win a championship.
Six Spurs scored in double digits, but their tough interior and smart perimeter defense in the second half led them to victory. The Pistons only scored 15 points in the fourth quarter and did not pull ahead of the Spurs in the last 12 minutes after a solid first half in which they were only down 52-51 at halftime.
Tony Parker led the Spurs in scoring with 19 points and added seven assists. DeJuan "the Bear" Blair had another terrific game, notching his second straight double-double in a row and seventh since the beginning of 2011 with 18 points and 12 rebounds. All-Stars Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili contributed as well. Duncan had 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Manu chipped in 13 points.
Pistons guard Will Bynum scored 12 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter in a last-dash effort to steal the game.