San Antonio Spurs: How Will They Hold Up During the Final Stretch?

Steven ElonichCorrespondent IApril 5, 2011

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 17: Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs watches from the bench as his teammates take on the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on February 17, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Spurs 109-99. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

With the Bulls stampeding to the finish, the Spurs seem to be slugging along after ending a six-game skid with a dominate performance against a Steve Nash-less Phoenix Suns club to push them to one-and-a-half games over Derrick Rose and company.

The boys from Illinois have left Boston and Miami in the rearview mirror, with their eyes (and horns) set on gaining the best record in the league.

Two weeks ago, it seemed as if the Spurs had all but locked the title of "Best in League" up, but following their poor performance down the stretch, teams such as the Lakers, who still have a game left against the Spurs and are only two-and-a-half games back themselves, have rejuvenated hope.

The Bulls are the main competition, though.

San Antonio had avoided the age talk all season, but with the recent outings of Duncan, Ginobili and Parker, they have resurfaced. Do The Spurs have the durability to hold up throughout the playoffs, or even the rest of the season?

The Spurs must play on the road in Atlanta Tuesday night before turning around and play Sacramento and Utah back in San Antonio. They finish their season off with road games against Los Angeles and Phoenix.

Chicago has a somewhat difficult final six contests: two at home against Phoenix and Boston, followed by three on the road against the likes of Cleveland, Orlando and New York, finishing off at home versus New Jersey.

In order for the Bulls to catch San Antonio, the Spurs would have to lose at least two games with the Bulls winning out, since the Spurs currently hold the tiebreaker of better in-conference record (SA: 36-12, CHI: 34-13).

It may be a long shot for the Bulls to take the overall No. 1 seed, but not out of the question due to San Antonio's poor play during the last few weeks.

With only two weeks remaining, the playoff picture is still shady as the Bulls and Spurs attempt to close out the year as the best team in the NBA.