San Antonio Spurs

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San Antonio Spurs
2013–14 San Antonio Spurs season
San Antonio Spurs logo
Conference Western
Division Southwest
Founded 1967 (Joined NBA in 1976)
History Dallas Chaparrals (ABA)
1967–1970, 1971–1973
Texas Chaparrals (ABA)
1970–1971
San Antonio Spurs (ABA)
1973–1976
San Antonio Spurs (NBA)
1976–present
Arena AT&T Center
City San Antonio, Texas
Team colors Black, Silver, White
              
Owner(s) Peter Holt
General manager R.C. Buford
Head coach Gregg Popovich
D-League affiliate Austin Toros
Championships 4 (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007)
Conference titles 5 (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2013)
Division titles 20 (1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1990, 1991, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Retired numbers 7 (00, 6, 12, 13, 32, 44, 50)
Official website
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Home jersey
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Team colours
Home
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Away jersey
Kit shorts saspursa.png
Team colours
Away

The San Antonio Spurs are an American professional basketball team based in San Antonio, Texas. They are part of the Southwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

The Spurs are one of four former American Basketball Association teams to remain intact in the NBA after the 1976 ABA–NBA merger and the only former ABA team to have won an NBA championship. The Spurs' four NBA championships are the fourth most in history behind only the Boston Celtics (17), Los Angeles Lakers (16), and Chicago Bulls (6). The Spurs currently rank second among active franchises for the highest winning percentage in NBA history trailing only the Los Angeles Lakers; they have only missed the playoffs four times as an NBA franchise.

In their 38 NBA seasons since 1976–1977, the Spurs have captured 20 division titles. They have made the playoffs in 24 of the last 25 seasons (since 1989–1990) and have not missed the playoffs in the 17 seasons since Tim Duncan was drafted by the Spurs in 1997. With their 50th win in the 2013–2014 season, the Spurs extended their record for most consecutive 50+ win seasons to 15 (the 1998/1999 season was shortened to 50 games because of a lockout and based on their win percentage of .740, would have easily surpassed 50 wins in an 82-game season, and thus extend the record by 2 more seasons).

They are the only team in the NBA with a tied or better head-to-head regular season record against every active team.

The Spurs in San Antonio[edit]

The Spurs are the city's only team in any of the four major U.S. professional sports leagues and the only major-league team in the city's history to have lasted more than five years. Spurs players are active members of the San Antonio community, and many former Spurs are still active in San Antonio including David Robinson with the Carver Academy[1] and George Gervin with the George Gervin Youth Center.[2]

The Spurs set several NBA attendance records while playing at the Alamodome including the largest crowd ever for a NBA Finals game in 1999,[3] and the Spurs continue to sell out the smaller AT&T Center (formerly SBC Center) on a regular basis.

Since 2003, the team has been forced on an extended road trip for much of February since the AT&T Center hosts the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. This is informally known as the "Rodeo Road Trip."[4] The Spurs have consistently posted winning road records during this period, including an NBA-record longest single road trip winning streak (eight games out of nine, achieved in 2003).[5]

When the Spurs won the NBA title, the teams' victory parades have included the team traveling on the San Antonio River on boats adjacent to the San Antonio River Walk.[6]

Franchise history[edit]

1967–1973: Dallas Chaparrals[edit]

Dallas/Texas Chaparrals logo

The San Antonio Spurs started out as the Dallas Chaparrals of the original version of the American Basketball Association (ABA) in 1967. Led by Player/Coach Cliff Hagan the Dallas Chaparrals were one of 11 teams to take the floor in the inaugural season of the upstart ABA. The Chaps second season was a bit of a disappointment, as the team finished in 4th place with a mediocre 41–37 record. In the playoffs the Chaparrals quickly fell to the New Orleans Buccaneers.[7]

The team suffered from poor attendance and general disinterest in Dallas. In fact, during the 1970–71 season, the name "Dallas" was dropped in favor of "Texas" and an attempt was made to make the team a regional one, playing games in Fort Worth, Texas, at the Tarrant County Coliseum, as well as Lubbock, Texas, at the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum, but this proved a failure and the team returned full-time to Dallas in time for the 1971–72 season, splitting their games at Moody Coliseum and Dallas Convention Center Arena.[8]

1973–1976: Coming to San Antonio[edit]

San Antonio Spurs logo 1973–1989

While the Chaparrals had been modestly successful on the court, they were sinking financially by their third season, largely because the ownership group refused to spend much money on the team. After missing the playoffs for the first time in their existence in the 1972–73 season, nearly all of the owners wanted out. A group of 36 San Antonio businessmen, led by Angelo Drossos, John Schaefer and Red McCombs worked out a "lend-lease" deal with the Dallas ownership group. Drossos and his group would lease the team for three years and move it to San Antonio, and agreed to return the team to Dallas if no purchase occurred by 1975.

After the deal was signed, the team was renamed the San Antonio Gunslingers.[9] However, before they even played a game the name was changed to Spurs. The team's primary colors were changed from the red, white, and blue of the Chaparrals to the now familiar black, silver and white motif of the Spurs.

The team name derives from a spur, a metal tool designed to be worn on the heels of cowboy boots for the purpose of controlling a horse's movement direction

In the first game at the HemisFair Arena the Spurs lost to the San Diego Conquistadors, despite attracting a noisy crowd of 6,000 fans. A smothering defense was the team's image, as they held opponents less than 100 points an ABA record 49 times. The early Spurs were led by ABA veteran James Silas, and the team would get stronger as the season went on as they twice took advantage of the Virginia Squires, acquiring Swen Nater, who would go on to win Rookie of the Year, in November, and "The Iceman" George Gervin in January. The ABA tried to halt the Gervin deal, claiming it was detrimental to the league, but a judge would rule in the Spurs' favor, and Gervin made his Spurs debut on February 7. The Spurs would go on to finish with a 45–39 record, good for 3rd place in the Western Division.

In the playoffs, the Spurs would battle the Indiana Pacers to the bitter end before falling in seven games. San Antonio embraced the Spurs with open arms; the Spurs drew 6,303 fans per game, surpassing the Chaparrals' entire total attendance in only 18 games. Drossos and McCombs knew a runaway hit when they saw it. After only one year, they exercised their option to tear up the lease agreement, buy the franchise outright and keep the team in San Antonio for good.[10]

The team quickly made themselves at home at HemisFair Arena, playing to increasingly large and raucous crowds. Despite a respectable 17–10 start during the 1974–75 season, Coach Tom Nissalke was fired as owners become tired of the Spurs' slow defensive style of games. He would be replaced by Bob Bass, who stated that the Spurs would have an entirely new playing style: "It is my belief that you cannot throw a set offense at another professional team for 48 minutes. You've got to let them play some schoolyard basketball." George Gervin and James Silas took that style to heart, as the Spurs became an exciting fast breaking team on the way to a solid 51–33 record, good enough for second place in the West. Gervin said, "Our whole theory was that you shoot 100 times, we'll shoot 107." However, in the playoffs the Spurs would fall to the Indiana Pacers in six games.

Even though playoff success would elude the team, the Spurs had suddenly found themselves among the top teams in the ABA. Moreover, their gaudy attendance figures made them very attractive to the NBA, despite the size of the market. Although San Antonio had over 650,000 people at the time (and has since grown to become the seventh-largest city in the United States), it has always been a medium-sized market because the surrounding suburban and rural areas aren't much larger than the city itself. In June 1976, the ABA-NBA merger took place, moving San Antonio's sole professional sports franchise into a new league. The Spurs, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers and New York Nets moved to the NBA for the 1976–77 season.

The Spurs and the other three ABA teams agreed to pay the owners of two other strong ABA teams that folded instead of joining the NBA. John Y. Brown, Jr., the owner of the Kentucky Colonels, received $3 million, which he used to purchase the NBA's Buffalo Braves and later the Boston Celtics, after selling star guard Louie Dampier to the Spurs. The owners of the Spirits of St. Louis received a portion of all television profits during their NBA tenure, which amounts to roughly 1/7 of the Spurs' television profit every year. This agreement has placed particular financial pressure on the Spurs and the other three former ABA teams.[11]

1976–1985: The George Gervin era[edit]

Although there was some initial skepticism in league circles regarding the potential success and talent levels of the incoming ABA teams, the Spurs would prove worthy of NBA inclusion during the 1976–77 season with a record of 44–38, good for a tie for fourth place overall in the Eastern Conference. This was done in spite of significant handicaps the NBA imposed on the incoming ABA teams, limiting their draft picks and television revenues during their early time in the merged league. They gained a new rival in the form of the Houston Rockets, who had played in Texas for five years prior to the merger.

During the 1977–78 season, George Gervin and David Thompson of the Denver Nuggets battled all season for the NBA scoring title. On the final day of the season, Thompson took the lead by scoring 73 points in an afternoon game against the Detroit Pistons. That night Gervin knew that he needed 58 points against the Jazz in New Orleans. Gervin got off to a good start by scoring 20 points in the 1st quarter. In the 2nd, The Iceman was even better, setting a single period record with 33 points. Early on in the 3rd period Gervin scored his 58 points on the way to 63 capturing the scoring title. While Gervin was lighting up the scoreboard the Spurs were winning the Central Division with a 52–30 record.

However, in the playoffs the Spurs would be stunned in six games by the Washington Bullets despite an outstanding series from Gervin who averaged 33.2 ppg. The following season in the 1979 Conference Finals the Spurs led the series 3–1 but the Bullets came back to win the last three games and came from behind to win the 7th game 107–105 handing the Spurs an absolute heartbreaking loss. The Spurs would have to wait another 20 years to make it to their first NBA finals.

The Spurs would go on to capture five division titles in their first seven years in the NBA and became a perennial playoff participant. However, in the playoffs, the Spurs would never find a break, losing to teams like the Washington Bullets, the Boston Celtics, the Houston Rockets, and the Los Angeles Lakers.

As the 1980s progressed, the Spurs would see their shares of highs and lows. For the first few seasons of the decade, the Spurs continued their success of the 1970s with records of 52–30 in 1980–81, 48–34 in 1981–82, and 53–29 in 1982–83 (it was during this period that the Spurs were moved to the Western Conference).

Despite their regular season success, the Spurs were unable to win any NBA championships, losing in the Western Conference playoffs to the Houston Rockets in the first round of the 1981 and the Los Angeles Lakers in four games 1982 and in six games in the 1983 Western Finals despite getting both wins at the Forum in the 1983 series. They lost every home game in both series in 1982 and 1983 vs the Lakers as Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and co were too strong. The Spurs did not make the conference finals until 1995.

After the 1984–85 season, Gervin, who had been the Spurs' biggest star, was traded to the Chicago Bulls in what effectively signaled the end of the era that began when the Spurs first moved to San Antonio.

1985–1989: Difficult years[edit]

The next four seasons were a dark time in Spurs' history with the team having a combined record of 115–213 from 1985–86 until 1988–89. The losing seasons and dwindling attendance often caused the Spurs to be mentioned as a potential candidate for relocation to another city.

The lone bright spot during this period was the Spurs being awarded the top pick in the 1987 NBA draft through NBA Draft Lottery. The Spurs used this selection on United States Naval Academy standout David Robinson. Although drafted in 1987, the Spurs would have to wait until the 1989–90 season to see Robinson actually play, due to a two-year commitment he had to serve with the United States Navy.

The Spurs seemingly bottomed out in 1988–89 with a record of 21–61, the worst in franchise history at the time. However, the 1989–90 season was notable for several reasons. It was the first season of full ownership for Red McCombs, who was an original investor in the team and helped solidify local ownership for the team. Additionally, the 1988–89 season featured the debut of Larry Brown as the Spurs head coach who moved to San Antonio after winning the NCAA National Championship with the University of Kansas in 1988.

1989–1997: Arrival of The Admiral[edit]

Spurs logo 1989–2002

Although there was speculation that Robinson might choose not to sign with the Spurs and to become a free agent once his Navy commitment ended,[12][13] Robinson decided in the end to come to San Antonio for the 1989–90 season.

While it was generally thought his arrival would make the Spurs respectable again, no one expected what happened in his rookie season. Led by Robinson, 1989 draftee Sean Elliott from the University of Arizona Wildcats, and trade acquisition Terry Cummings from the Milwaukee Bucks, the Spurs achieved the biggest one-season turnaround in NBA history, finishing with a record of 56–26. They also jumped all the way to first place in the Midwest Division, their first in seven years.

However, the Spurs lost a seven-game series in the Western Conference semifinals to the eventual Western Conference champion Portland Trail Blazers. Robinson had one of the most successful rookie seasons for a center in NBA history, finishing the season as the unanimous Rookie of the Year while averaging 24.3 points and 12.0 rebounds.

The Spurs began the 1990s with great optimism. The team became a perennial playoff presence, although unable to advance further than the second round of the NBA Playoffs under Brown's tutelage. Late in the 1991–92 season, McCombs fired Brown and replaced him with Bob Bass, who finished the season as interim head coach.

Without a healthy David Robinson, the Spurs were swept out of the first round of the playoffs by the Phoenix Suns. McCombs made national headlines during the summer of 1992 with the hiring of former UNLV head coach Jerry Tarkanian. The Tarkanian experiment proved a flop, as the coach was fired 20 games into the 1992–93 season with the Spurs record at 9–11. After Rex Hughes filled the coaching shoes for one game, NBA veteran John Lucas was named head coach. It was Lucas's first NBA coaching assignment, although he had gained recognition in league circles for his success in helping NBA players rehab from drug abuse.

The Lucas era started out successfully. His coaching propelled the team to a 39–22 finish over the rest of the regular season, and the team reached the Western Conference semi-finals, losing to the Phoenix Suns. The 1992–93 season also marked the last one that the Spurs would play in HemisFair Arena. In 1993, local businessman Peter M. Holt and a group of 22 investors purchased the Spurs from Red McCombs for $75 million.

The Alamodome, home to the Spurs from 1993 to 2002.

The following season, the Spurs' first in the newly built Alamodome, Lucas led the Spurs to a 55–27 record but the team suffered a loss in the first round of the playoffs to the Utah Jazz, which led to the immediate firing of Lucas as head coach. Prior to the season the Spurs traded fan-favorite Elliott to the Detroit Pistons in return for rebounding star Dennis Rodman.

Lucas was replaced by former Pacers coach Bob Hill for the 1994–95 season, which would turn out to be the Spurs' most successful regular season until 2006. Elliott returned to the team after an uneventful season with the Pistons, and the team finished with the NBA's best record at 62–20, cracking the 60-win mark for the first time in franchise history.

David Robinson was named the league's Most Valuable Player. The Spurs reached the Western Conference Finals, but lost to the eventual NBA Champion Houston Rockets 4–2. After the pregame MVP award ceremony honoring David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon dominated the game, outscoring Robinson 42–22 in a narrow 1 point Rockets win. The Spurs lost Game 2 at home but took Games 3 and 4 in Houston. Game 5 of the series was highlighted by the famous Dream Shake move by Hakeem Olajuwon in Game 5 at the Alamodome the Spurs lost 111–90 in front of 35,000 fans and lost the series in Houston in Game 6. Throughout the season, and particularly in the playoffs, there appeared to be friction developing between Rodman and several Spurs' teammates, most notably Robinson. Rodman was traded to the Chicago Bulls after the season, and helped lead them to the next three titles.

The Spurs finished the next season (1995–96) under Hill at 59–23 and lost in the Western Conference semi-finals to the Jazz. Few observers could have predicted how far the Spurs would fall during the 1996–97 season, especially with the signing of Dominique Wilkins. Robinson missed the first month of the season due to a back injury. He returned in December, but played only six games before a broken foot sidelined him for the rest of the season. Elliott also missed more than half the season due to injury. Without Robinson and Elliott, the Spurs were a rudderless team.

The lone bright spot was Wilkins, whose role was just to be a relief off the bench, leading the team in scoring with an average of 18.2 ppg. The Spurs ended the season with a 20–62 record, the worst in franchise history—and to date, the last time they have missed the playoffs. Hill only lasted 18 games as coach that season, eventually being fired and replaced by general manager Gregg Popovich, who had also served a stint under Brown as an assistant coach. Wilkins would play his lone season in 1996–1997 for San Antonio, knowing his minutes and playing time would greatly diminish next season.

As disastrous as the 1996–97 season was for the Spurs, the offseason proved to be the opposite. With the third-worst record in the league, the Spurs won the NBA's draft lottery, which gave them the top pick in the 1997 draft. The Spurs used their pick to select Wake Forest University product and consensus All-American Tim Duncan.

The drafting of Tim Duncan in 1997 was a turning point in the history of the Spurs.
Spurs logo 2002–present

1997–2003: The "Twin Towers"[edit]

Duncan quickly emerged as a dominant force in the NBA during the 1997–98 season, averaging 21.1 points and 11.9 rebounds per game as a power forward. He was named First Team All-NBA while winning Rookie of the Year honors. The team ended up at 56–26, breaking their own record from 1989–90 for the biggest single-season improvement for wins, but once again lost to the Jazz in the Western Conference semifinals.

While both Duncan and Robinson played low-post roles, the two seamlessly meshed on the court. The March 14, 1998, game against the Chicago Bulls set the Spurs' current regular-season home attendance record. An Alamodome crowd of 37,492 came to see Michael Jordan's last visit as a Bull, as he led the team to its third-straight championship and its sixth in eight years.

With a healthy Robinson and Duncan and the additions of playoff veterans such as Mario Elie and Jerome Kersey, the Spurs looked forward to the 1998–99 season. Prior to the beginning of training camps, however, the NBA owners, led by commissioner David Stern, locked out the players in order to force a new collective bargaining agreement with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). The season was delayed for over three months until resolution on a new labor agreement was reached in January 1999.

The Spurs won four championships, all with Duncan and Popovich.

1999: First Championship[edit]

Playing a shortened 50-game season, the Spurs earned an NBA-best 37–13 record (.740 win percentage, and only season since Duncan was drafted the Spurs did not win at least 50 games in a season as of 2013). The team was just as dominant in the playoffs, rolling through the Western Conference with a record of 11–1, including consecutive four-game sweeps of the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference semifinal series and the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals.

In the NBA Finals, they faced the New York Knicks, who had made history by becoming the first eighth seed to ever make the NBA Finals, and, on June 25, 1999, the Spurs won the series and the franchise's first NBA Championship in Game 5 (final score: 78–77) on the Knicks' home court, Madison Square Garden. Duncan was named the NBA Finals MVP. The Spurs set a new NBA Finals one-game attendance record when 39,554 fans attended Game 2 at the Alamodome. The previous record was set only two days earlier, when 39,514 spectators attended Game 1.

The Spurs became the first former ABA team to reach the NBA Finals. Their victory was the first to be won by a former ABA team.

1999–2002: Falling Short in the Playoffs[edit]

Coming off their first NBA Championship, the Spurs were still among the best teams in the West and battling for first place in the Midwest Division during the 1999–2000 season. On March 14, the Spurs playoff spirits got a lift when Sean Elliott, who received a kidney transplant from his brother prior to the season, returned and played in the last 19 games. As the season wound down, Tim Duncan suffered a knee injury and the Spurs finished in second place with a 53–29 record. Without Duncan, the Spurs were knocked out of the playoffs by the Phoenix Suns in four games.

The long-term viability of the Spurs franchise in San Antonio was, however, achieved during the 1999–2000 season, as Bexar County voters approved increases in car rental and hotel taxes which would allow for the construction of a new arena next to the Freeman Coliseum. The Spurs finished with 58–24 records for both the 2000–01 and 2001–02 seasons but found themselves suffering playoff ousters in both seasons from the eventual NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers, getting swept from the 2001 Conference Finals and losing in five games during the 2002 second round.

2002–2004: Transition to the "Big Three"[edit]

2002–2003: Second Championship[edit]

Entering the 2002–03 season, the team knew it would be memorable for at least two reasons, as David Robinson announced that it would be his last in the NBA and the Spurs would begin play at their new arena, the SBC Center, named after telecommunications giant SBC, whose corporate headquarters were located in San Antonio (SBC became AT&T after its acquisition of its former parent company). To mark this occasion, the Spurs revamped their "Fiesta Colors" logo and reverted to the familiar silver and black motif (though, during the time of the Fiesta logo, the uniform remained silver and black).

Kevin Willis Bruce Bowen Malik Rose Head Coach, Gregg Popovich Danny Ferry Manu Ginóbili Tim Duncan George W. Bush Asst. Coach, P. J. Carlesimo Steve Kerr Owner, Peter Holt Tony Parker The Spurs visit the White House after their championship in 2003.
The Spurs visit the White House after their championship in 2003.

This version of the Spurs was very different from the team that had won the title a few years earlier. Second-year French star Tony Parker, drafted by the Spurs in the first round of the 2001 NBA Draft, was now the starting point guard for the Spurs. The squad featured a variety of newly acquired three-point shooters, including Stephen Jackson, Danny Ferry, Bruce Bowen, Steve Kerr, Steve Smith and Argentina product Manu Ginóbili, a 1999 second-round draft choice playing in his first NBA season.

After splitting their first two games on the road, the Spurs christened the SBC Center in style on November 1 by beating the Toronto Raptors 91–72.[14] The Spurs would not get off to a flying start as they had a 19–13 record heading into January, which had them 7 games out of first place in the Midwest Division. In January the Spurs began to gel and seemed prepped to make a run, when they embarked on their annual Rodeo Road Trip, a nine-game road trip from January 25 to February 16. However, it would be hardly a bump in the road for the charging Spurs, who won eight of the nine and began to climb their way to first place.

The Spurs went on to erase their seven-game deficit and finished the season in a tie with the Dallas Mavericks for the best record in the NBA (60–22). Thanks to a tiebreaker, the Spurs won their third straight Division title as Tim Duncan claimed his second straight NBA MVP.[15]


In the playoffs, the Spurs defeated the Suns, Lakers and Mavericks en route to facing the New Jersey Nets in the NBA Finals. The series against the Nets marked the first time two former ABA teams played each other for the NBA Championship.

The Spurs won the series 4–2, giving them their second NBA Championship in franchise history. Duncan was named both the NBA Regular Season and Finals MVP for the season.

Robinson retired after the season. By winning the NBA Championship, the Spurs denied New Jersey from having both NBA and NHL championships in the same year.

2003–2004: Bridging the gap[edit]

Coming off their second NBA Championship, the retirement of David Robinson left a void in San Antonio's daunting defense, while playoff hero Steve Kerr and veteran forward Danny Ferry also sailed off into the sunset. Meanwhile, backup point guard Speedy Claxton was wooed away by the Warriors, and Stephen Jackson bolted for Atlanta for a significant pay raise.

With several holes to fill in their rotation, the Spurs would make several key signings in the offseason to shore up their depth. Rasho Nesterovic was signed from Minnesota to help ease the loss of Robinson. Hedo Türkoğlu was acquired in a salary dump when Sacramento got Brad Miller, also was brought in to fill a key role as a scoring forward to replace Jackson. The most notable off-season acquisition would prove to be the signing of veteran Robert Horry.

The San Antonio Spurs hosting the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the 2004 Western Conference Semifinals at the SBC Center.

The Spurs, playing with nine new players, struggled early as they missed the presence of David Robinson while the new players struggled to fit in, as they held a 9–10 record on December 3. However, the Spurs would turn it around, as they ended December on 13-game winning streak and quickly climbed back to the top of the NBA standings. The Spurs would battle all year for the top spot in the Western Conference, as they ended the season on another strong note winning their final 11 games. However, they would fall one game short of a division title and the best record in the West, posting a record of 57–25.

In the playoffs, the Spurs remained hot as they swept the Memphis Grizzlies in 4 straight games. In the second round, the Spurs found themselves in another showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Spurs' winning streak would continue as they captured the first two games at home, bringing their winning streak from the end of the regular season up to 17 games. However, as the series shifted to Los Angeles, the Spurs would suddenly have trouble finding the basket, as they lost both games as the Lakers evened the series. The series was playing out similarly to the match-up between the two teams a year earlier. In Game 5 at the SBC Center, Tim Duncan seemingly delivered the Spurs a 73–72 win as he gave the Spurs a lead with a dramatic shot with just 0.4 seconds remaining. However, the Lakers' Derek Fisher would launch a game-winner as time expired which would go in, giving the Lakers a stunning 74–73 win to take a 3–2 series lead.[16][17][18] The Spurs protested the shot, arguing that the clock started late, which the Spurs claimed was why replays showed Fisher got off the shot in time.[18][19] An AP report and the three officials in attendance stated that replays showed the shot was released by Fisher before time expired.[18][20] The officials, however, did not consider the Spurs' claim that the clock did not start immediately when the ball was inbounded.

After the stunning loss, the Spurs traveled to Los Angeles for Game 6, where they lost the game and the series. The Spurs spent the following offseason tweaking the team.

2004–present: The "Big Three"[edit]

2004–2005: Third Championship[edit]

After their disappointing second round collapse, the Spurs looked to regain the NBA crown. With the acquisition of guard Brent Barry from Seattle, the Spurs would get off to a quick start, posting a 12–3 record in November. The Spurs would stay hot through December as they established a 25–6 record entering the New Year. With the later additions of center Nazr Mohammed from New York (acquired in a midseason trade of Malik Rose), and veteran forward Glenn Robinson from free agency, alongside regulars Bruce Bowen, Robert Horry, Tony Parker, Manu Ginóbili, and Tim Duncan, the Spurs would be near the top in the Western Conference all season, battling the Phoenix Suns for the best record in the NBA.

Just as it appeared the Spurs would cruise toward the playoffs their season suddenly hit a bump in the road when Tim Duncan went down in a March 20 loss to the Detroit Pistons with a sprained ankle.[21] The rest of the way the Spurs would limp home, winning nine of their last 17 as they held on to the Southwest Division by just one game with a 59–23 record. However, by the time the playoffs rolled around, Duncan was ready to return.[15]

In the postseason, the Spurs' playoff run would get off to a rocky start as they dropped Game 1 to the Denver Nuggets 93–87.[21] The Spurs would quickly turn things around as they would roar back to win the next 4 games to win the series in 5, while Duncan got stronger as the series went on, scoring 39 points in a key overtime win in Game 4. In the second round against the Seattle SuperSonics, the Spurs would get off to a fast start by winning the first two games at home by double digits. With a shot to take a commanding 3–0 series lead, Tim Duncan missed a final shot at the buzzer as the Sonics held on for a 92–91 win.[22] The Sonics would also win Game 4 to send the series back to San Antonio tied at 2 games apiece. In Game 5, faced with seeing another meltdown, the Spurs looked toward Manu Ginóbili, who took over with a game-high 39 points in leading the Spurs to a solid 103–90 win. The Spurs would go on to capture the series in 6 games with a 98–96 win in Seattle to close it out.

In the Western Conference Finals, the Spurs would face the Phoenix Suns, and took control early, winning the first 2 games on the road. They would stay hot as the series came home, winning Game 3 to take a 3–0 series lead. However, with a chance to close things out at home, the Spurs saw the Suns hang on for a 111–106 win in Game 4. Back in Phoenix for Game 5, Tim Duncan would take over, leading the Spurs in points with 31 and 15 rebounds as the Spurs won the West with a 101–95 win.[23]

In the NBA Finals, the Spurs would face the defending champion Detroit Pistons. The first 2 games in San Antonio were both Spurs victories as Manu Ginóbili led the way with 26 and 27 points, in blow out wins by the Spurs. However, as the series shifted to Detroit, the Spurs were the ones who were blown-out, losing Games 3 and 4 by big margins as the Pistons evened the series. Faced with a third straight loss in Detroit, the Spurs would play much tougher in Game 5 which would become a classic as the game went into overtime. After going scoreless in the first half, Robert Horry had the hot hand in the second half of overtime as he nailed a clutch three-point shot with nine seconds remaining to give the Spurs a dramatic 96–95 win.[21] However with a chance to close things out back at home in Game 6, the Spurs would lose 95–86, setting up the first NBA Finals Game seven in 11 years.

With the world watching Game 7 in San Antonio, the game went back and forth and was tied 57–57 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter, it would be Tim Duncan-time as he had his best game of the series with 25 points as the Spurs pulled away late to win their third NBA Title in seven years with an 81–74 win in Game 7.[15]

Tim Duncan was named Finals MVP, becoming only the fourth player to win the MVP award three times (joining Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal, and Michael Jordan). Also, Manu Ginóbili established himself as an NBA star, earning local, national, and international fan praise (particularly in his home country of Argentina) and a berth in that season's All-Star Game.

2005–2006: Battle of Texas[edit]

AT&T Center at night, the home of the Spurs.

Coming off their third NBA Championship in six years, there was a sense that the Spurs were the class of the NBA, and once again would be the team to beat in the NBA for the Championship.[15] For the 2005–06 season, the Spurs acquired the two-time All-Star Michael Finley and one-time All Star Nick Van Exel. Not surprisingly, the Spurs would come flying out of the gate, winning 16 of their first 19 games.

Once again, the Spurs would get challenged within their own division by the Dallas Mavericks as they held the two best records in the Western Conference all season, battling for first place. In the end, the experience of the Spurs would be the difference as they won the Southwest Division again with a new franchise best record of 63–19.[15]

The Spurs qualified for the playoffs for the ninth year in a row. (Until this season, the Spurs and Indiana Pacers shared the NBA's longest active consecutive playoff appearance streak with nine in a row, though San Antonio has qualified for its 10th consecutive appearance during the 2006–07 season, while Indiana's playoff streak ended.) In the playoffs, the Spurs would get a surprisingly tough test from the Sacramento Kings in the first round as they need an overtime win in Game 2 to win the first two games at home, before losing the next two on the road. After regaining control of the series with a 109–98 win in Game 5, the Spurs won the series in six games as they won the finale 105–83 to set up another second round "Lone-Star Showdown" with the Mavericks.[15]

Game 1 would set the tone of the series as it was tight all the way with Tim Duncan scoring a game-high 31 points in an 87–85 win. However, in Game 2, the Spurs were rocked at home, losing by 22 points. As the series shifted to Dallas, the Mavericks gained control winning two close nail-bitters to take a 3–1 series lead. However, the Spurs would not go down without a fight as they rebounded to win a physical war in Game 5 by a score of 98–97, as former Maverick Michael Finley got hit with a low blow from Jason Terry in the final seconds.[24] Terry, who had played well against the Spurs all series, would be suspended for Game 6 and the Spurs took full advantage, winning on the road 91–86 to force a seventh game at the AT&T Center.

In Game 7, Tim Duncan would lead the way for the Spurs with 41 points and 15 rebounds. However, he was matched by Dirk Nowitzki. The Spurs erased an early 20-point deficit and forced the game into overtime. However, in overtime it was not meant to be as the Mavericks were on fire, scoring 15 points to win the game 119–111.[15][21]

2006–2007: Fourth Championship[edit]

After their disappointing defeat at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks, the Spurs entered the 2006–07 season refreshed with renewed determination, as they felt fatigue played a large role as they failed to win a second straight NBA Title. The Spurs began their 2007 season on foreign soil as they opened up their training camp in France in October 2006, in an effort to build camaraderie between players and expand their international presence (this team had players from four other nations: Beno Udrih of Slovenia, Manu Ginóbili and Fabricio Oberto of Argentina, Tony Parker of France, and Francisco Elson of the Netherlands).

With a 97–91 opening-night victory on November 2 at Dallas, Gregg Popovich became the fourth head coach in North American professional sports history to post 10 straight opening night victories (others are: Tom Landry, Bill Fitch and George Allen). The Spurs got off to a strong start in the regular season, winning 11 of their first 14 games, including victories over Dallas, Phoenix and Houston. During that stretch, Tim Duncan became the 98th member of the 15,000-point club at Seattle.

However, the Spurs franchise-record 12-game road winning streak came to a halt with a 111–102 loss at Golden State on November 27. With a win against Sacramento on December 2, 2006, the Spurs moved past the Celtics to become the second winningest franchise in NBA history (based on winning percentage) at .595. But as the season unfolded, the Spurs failed to live up to their lofty expectations. Following a 9–7 record in January, the Spurs started February with a 1–3 record. They struggled down the stretch in many of those defeats, and the Spurs quickly found themselves far behind the Dallas Mavericks and the Phoenix Suns. In fact, the Spurs were, during this period, a mere 1.5 games ahead of the third-place Houston Rockets in the Southwest Division.

Trade rumors began swirling around the Spurs. Unaccustomed to struggling during the regular season, the Spurs were frustrated. With the trade deadline quickly approaching, Popovich had to choose whether or not to keep the team together. His decision was to not make a trade. Then, with quiet determination, the Spurs spent the rest of the season flying under the radar, winning 13 games in a row during February and March. The Spurs won those games with either tough defense or by hitting big shots down the stretch.

The Spurs were an NBA-best 25–6 in the final 31 games. During the 31-game stretch, the Spurs averaged 98.8 points while holding their opponents to 87.9 ppg. With that streak, the Spurs began climbing back up in the Western Conference standings. Despite their massive turnaround, the Spurs would not catch the Mavs who won the Southwest Division by nine games. However, with the NBA's top ranked defense and a 58–24 record, the Spurs entered the postseason in good shape.

When the bell rang for the second season, they were able to put the Denver Nuggets away in five games. While the Spurs were bouncing the Nuggets, the Mavericks, who had an NBA best 67–15 record in the regular season, were unraveling, losing to the Golden State Warriors in six games. The Mavericks' upset loss set the Spurs second-round series against the Phoenix Suns as the key series in the entire NBA Playoffs, as this series featured the teams with the two best records remaining in the Western Conference.

The Spurs went on to win 4–2 in the contentious and controversial series versus the Suns. The series featured a Robert Horry foul on Steve Nash toward the end of the fourth game which resulted in Horry being suspended for two games. Those who said the second-round series against the Suns was the true NBA Finals would be proven right, as the Spurs easily dispatched the Utah Jazz in five games to reach the NBA Finals. In the 2007 NBA Finals, the San Antonio Spurs swept the Cleveland Cavaliers and captured their fourth title in nine years. Duncan proclaimed that that championship was "the best" of the four championships, and acknowledged that he played "sub-par" and thus received only one vote for NBA Finals MVP from a panel of 10.[25] The award was won by Tony Parker who dominated in the Finals averaging 24.5 ppg on 57% shooting. Tony Parker became the first European-born player to win the Finals MVP.[26]

Just before the 2007 NBA Draft, the Spurs purchased the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League, becoming the second NBA team to purchase an NBADL team. This move made the Spurs the sole NBA affiliate of the Toros and gave them greater control over the management of the team, including coaching and the offensive and defensive schemes.

2007–2011: Playoff Struggles[edit]

The 2007–2008 season saw the Spurs go 56–26 and finish 3rd in the Western Conference where 7 games separated all eight playoff teams. The season was marked by major trades and acquisitions by many teams, most notably Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen being acquired by the Boston Celtics, Pau Gasol going to the Los Angeles Lakers, and Shaquille O'Neal going to the Phoenix Suns. Although the Spurs avoided any major deals, they still made a mid-season trade to acquire Kurt Thomas from Seattle. Despite a strong 17–3 start and an 11-game winning streak between February and March, the Spurs stayed relatively under the radar of the major trades and other quickly rising teams.

The Spurs faced Phoenix in the first round in a rematch of the previous year's controversial semifinal series. The Spurs rode the momentum of a thrilling Game 1 win (thanks in part to a rare, extra-clutch OT 3-pointer by Tim Duncan) to defeat the Suns in five games. The Spurs second round opponent would prove to be more than a handful as the veteran Spurs faced Chris Paul the up-and-coming New Orleans Hornets. The Spurs and the Hornets would battle for seven hard fought games (with New Orleans earning the upper hand throughout much of the series), but the Spurs scrapped together a game 7 win on the road (marking their first ever game 7 win on the road and series win after being down 0–2) to advance to the Western Conference Finals against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, where their run would come to an end after five games.

The Spurs began the 2008–09 season with three consecutive losses, their worst start to a season since 1973. Manu Ginóbili played in only 44 games as he continued to struggle with a right ankle injury. As a result, the Spurs were forced to depend on Tony Parker and Tim Duncan to carry the load; Parker responded by posting career-high averages in points and assists per game. The Spurs finished with a 54–28 record and third place in the West, but were eliminated by the Dallas Mavericks in their first round series, four games to one. The first round loss was the Spurs' first since the 1999–2000 season.

Two days before the 2009 NBA Draft, Spurs general manager R. C. Buford acted to address the team's age and health concerns[27] by acquiring 29-year-old swingman Richard Jefferson from the Milwaukee Bucks. The Spurs sent 38-year-old Bruce Bowen, 36-year-old Kurt Thomas, and 34-year-old Fabricio Oberto to the Bucks, who swapped Oberto to the Detroit Pistons for Amir Johnson.

The Spurs held three second-round picks in the 2009 draft. Their selection of Pittsburgh Panthers forward DeJuan Blair with the #37 pick was described as a "steal" by analysts;[28][29] the Spurs later drafted two guards they had been targeting with the No. 37 pick,[30] taking Miami Hurricanes shooting guard Jack McClinton and point/shooting guard Nando de Colo from France with the No. 51 and No. 53 picks, respectively. On July 10, 2009, the Spurs signed Detroit Pistons power forward Antonio McDyess to a three-year deal worth approximately $15 million in guaranteed money.[31]

The Spurs struggled with injuries during the regular season, but managed another 50-win season, finishing at 50–32. The seventh-seeded Spurs would once again battle the Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs. Unlike 2009, After falling to the Mavericks in Game 1, the Spurs went on to win the series in six games. The Spurs however, were swept out of the playoffs in the following round by the Phoenix Suns.

Spanish League MVP Tiago Splitter (right) was the Spurs' biggest addition in 2010.

During the 2010 NBA Draft, the Spurs management held the highest draft pick since the Tim Duncan draft a decade earlier. They drafted rookie James Anderson from Oklahoma State at #20.[32] However, Anderson was soon sitting out of the first half of the season due to injuries.

The Big Three, however, maintained a healthy status for the '10 part of the season, and went on to obtain the league's best starting record of 25–4 by Christmas Eve. Also fueling the Spurs' re-emergence was a thoroughly revamped Richard Jefferson, whom Popovich personally coached over the summer to find his touch. English big man Ryan Richards was another draftee of the Spurs, this one at No. 49, however two shoulder surgeries soon left him out of any immediate possibilities.

A truly significant development was the success of R. C. Buford in bringing the Brazilian 7-footer Tiago Splitter to San Antonio from Spain. Still, Splitter missed the preseason, and was injured during the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey. Yet Popovich was able to ease him lightly into the roster as the season gradually progressed. Popovich proved successful in breathing younger life into the Spurs by these modifications, and the addition of Chris Quinn and Gary Neal, who especially proved to be a valuable asset for the early surge in the season.

The Spurs finished 61–21 to be the #1 seed and face the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. In Game 1, The Spurs fell short 101–98. In Game 2, The Spurs won 93–87. The Spurs went on to lose the next two games, the series moving to 3–1. In Game 5, the Spurs were down by three 95–92 with 9 seconds left and Manu Ginóbili made a three to tie the game, but the referees reviewed it and counted it as a two. With 2.9 seconds left in the game, the Spurs fouled Zach Randolph, and Randolph made both free throws. The score was now 97–94, with 1.7 seconds left in the game. The Spurs gave the ball to Gary Neal and Neal made the three to send it to overtime. The Spurs went on to win the game 110–103. The Spurs lost Game 6 with a score of 99–91 and lost the series 4–2, becoming the fourth #1 seed to be upset by the 8th seed.

2011–2012: Return to Conference Finals[edit]

San Diego State's Kawhi Leonard's promising rookie year raised eyebrows to help the Spurs back in title contention.

The Spurs made major changes going into the 2011–12 season, including sending George Hill to his hometown Indiana Pacers for San Diego State's Kawhi Leonard, selected #15 overall by the Pacers in the 2011 NBA Draft. They also selected Texas Longhorns' Cory Joseph as the #29 overall pick. During the lockout, Danny Green, DeJuan Blair, and Tony Parker all played overseas.

After the lockout, the Spurs signed T.J. Ford, who would eventually retire in the middle of the season after playing only 14 games due to a stinger after being elbowed by Baron Davis during a game against the New York Knicks on March 7, 2012. Ford officially announced his retirement on March 12, 2012. In the month of February, the Spurs only lost two games and had an 11-game winning streak from January 30 to February 21. The streak ended against the Portland Trail Blazers with both Parker and Duncan sitting out.

Before the trade deadline, the Spurs decided to part ways with Richard Jefferson and sent him to the Golden State Warriors for Stephen Jackson, who had been a member of the 2003 championship team. Kawhi Leonard then became the starting small forward. In the week following the trade deadline, the Spurs also signed forward Boris Diaw after Diaw's contract was bought out by the Charlotte Bobcats, and former Portland Trail Blazers guard Patrick Mills who played for the Xinjiang Flying Tigers in the CBA during the lockout. This gave the Spurs a deeper bench for their playoff run, although Diaw would find himself in the starting lineup as the playoffs approached.

On April 6, 2012, Ginóbili became the first player in the history of the Spurs to score 1,000 three-pointers. The Spurs had another 11-game winning streak from March 21 to April 8 including back-to-back-to-back games against the Dallas Mavericks, the New Orleans Hornets, and the Philadelphia 76ers. Popovich was named Coach of the Month for both February and March. The Spurs won their second back-to-back-to-back set of games against the Golden State Warriors, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Sacramento Kings, the first NBA team to ever do so, and would eventually clinch the division and conference for the second straight season.

Despite the shortened 66-game NBA season due to the NBA lockout, the Spurs won 50 games and tied the Chicago Bulls for the best record in the league. They extended their streak of 50+ win seasons to 13 since the 1999–00 season, an NBA record. On May 2, 2012, Popovich won his second Coach of the Year.[33]

In the first round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs, the Spurs defeated the eighth-seeded Utah Jazz, four games to none. The Spurs led the Jazz at the end of every quarter of every game in the series. The Spurs then swept the Clippers in the second round of the playoffs. The Spurs took Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against The Oklahoma City Thunder. In taking Game 2 The Spurs became the record (20 games) of the longest win streak extending into the playoffs. However, the Thunder bested the Spurs in this series 4–2.

2012–2013: Return to the NBA Finals[edit]

The Spurs began their off-season after losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Western Conference Finals 4–2, and entered the 2012 NBA Draft with the second to the last pick, their only pick of the draft. Spurs drafted Missouri Tigers senior point guard Marcus Denmon with the 59th pick. The Spurs were eager to bring Slovenian big man Erazem Lorbek to the team due to the Spurs' lack of size, a main concern for the team with the aging Tim Duncan, but they were unable to bring him in after his previous club, FC Barcelona offered him the largest contract in their teams' history.

On July 9, the Spurs managed to re-sign swingman Danny Green, who was a welcome surprise for them from the previous season. The deal is worth $12 million over three years. The following day, they also re-signed Tim Duncan for three years and $30 million,[34] Boris Diaw for two years and $9 million, and Patrick Mills giving the Spurs a new hope towards their championship aspiration. On July 13, 2012, the Spurs signed their 2009 draft pick Nando de Colo to a two-year contract.[35]

On November 30, the NBA fined the Spurs $250,000 as a result of Gregg Popovich's decision to send Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginóbili and Danny Green home to rest rather than play the Miami Heat in Miami the previous night. On December 8, 2012, the Spurs recorded a new franchise record with 19 3-pointers made in a win against the Charlotte Bobcats, that was later surpassed on December 23 with 20 3-pointers made against the Dallas Mavericks.

The Spurs clinched the playoffs for a 16th consecutive season, as well as extended the NBA record with 50+ games for 14 consecutive seasons. On April 16, the Spurs signed two-time scoring champion, and seven-time All-Star Tracy McGrady to help the Spurs in the playoffs after waiving Stephen Jackson.[36] The Spurs finished the regular season second in the Western Conference behind the Oklahoma City Thunder with a record of 58–24, and swept the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round, 4–0. In the second round of the 2013 playoffs, the Spurs faced Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors. They beat the Warriors four games to two in the Western Conference Semifinals.[37] In the conference finals, the Spurs swept the Memphis Grizzlies in four games, with Tony Parker having a 18-assist performance in Game 2 on May 21 and a 37-point performance in Game 4 on May 27.[38] The Miami Heat won the Eastern Conference Championship seven days after the Spurs won the Western Conference Championship, setting up a Spurs vs. Heat NBA Finals.

On June 6, 2013, San Antonio defeated Miami 92-88 in Game 1 with a game winning shot with 5.2 seconds on the clock by Tony Parker. This was their seventh win in a row in the 2013 postseason. However, Miami blew them out 103-84 in Game 2, tying the series at one game apiece. San Antonio won Game 3 in a 113-77 rout, handing Miami their worst loss in playoff history as well as setting a new Finals record by making 16 3-point field goals. The Spurs lost Game 4 to the Heat with a score of 109-93, making the series tied for a second time. San Antonio responded in Game 5 by winning 114-104, with Manu Ginóbili playing his best game of the 2013 postseason, scoring 24 points and dishing 10 assists. Danny Green also scored 24 in large part by shooting 6 of 10 from three point range, setting a new NBA Finals record for most three-pointers by a player in a single Finals series. Green hit a record 25 of 38 3-point shot attempts in the series by the games' end, a record previously owned, ironically, by Miamis' Ray Allen who had 22 in the 2008 Finals. Allen struggled to contain both Green and Ginóbili. The win gave San Antonio a 3-2 lead going into game 6.

The Spurs were on the verge of winning the championship, up 13 points heading into the fourth quarter, when LeBron James scored 18 points in the last period, outscoring the entire Spurs squad himself at one point, with the Spurs up by five point and 28 seconds to go in regulation . Ray Allen then hit a 3-pointer to tie the game with five seconds left in regulation to send it to overtime during which the Spurs were defeated 103-100. The win tied the series for a third time at 3-3.

In Game 7, San Antonio jumped out to a lead early and kept the game close the entire way. Toward the end of the game, however, and despite a 24 point, 12 rebound effort, Duncan failed to convert on two attempts to tie the game: a missed layup and missed tip-in that allowed LeBron James to hit a jumper and increase the Heat's lead to 92-88. After a steal on Ginóbili, James hit two free throws after being fouled by Duncan, and when Ginóbili missed a subsequent 3-pointer, Dwyane Wade hit one out of two from the free throw line to put the game on ice. The Spurs finally succumbed to the Heat and were defeated 95-88, and for the first time in franchise history, the Spurs were defeated in an NBA Finals.[39]

2013–2014[edit]

After the heartbreak of the 2013 NBA Finals loss, the Spurs returned with their core players largely intact. Ginóbili was re-signed to a new 2-year $14 million contract, while Tiago Splitter was retained on a 4-year, $36 million contract. In addition, the Spurs picked up two free agents; Marco Belinelli and Jeff Ayres (formerly Jeff Pendergraph). They did, however, lose 3-point stalwart Gary Neal to the Milwaukee Bucks and DeJuan Blair to the Dallas Mavericks. They also unveiled two new uniforms: a military-inspired jersey that has grey with a camouflage print pattern and the Spurs logo on the front, and a new "Los Spurs" uniform design, with the former recognizing the large local military base population, and the latter recognizing the NBA's multicultural community support and outreach.

Early in December, the Spurs were set to play against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Mexico City, but the game was cancelled due to a fire in the generator room, which led to smoke in the stadium. The game was rescheduled for April 8th.

On March 28, 2014, the Spurs recorded a season-high 133 points in a win over the Denver Nuggets. The win also marked a 16 game winning streak, one short of the franchise regular-season record set during the 1995–96 season.[40] The next day, the Spurs made it 17, tying the franchise record.[41] On March 31, 2014, the Spurs extended their winning streak to 18 with a win over the Indiana Pacers, setting a new franchise record for consecutive wins in a row.[42] Their 19 game winning streak finally came to a halt on April 3, 2014 when they lost to the Durant-led Oklahoma City Thunder.

On April 11, 2014, the Spurs clinched the league's best record in a 112-104 win over the Phoenix Suns.

Rivalries[edit]

Los Angeles Lakers[edit]

Starting in 1999, the Spurs and Lakers combined to win 7 straight Western Conference titles. Although the rivalry cooled off recently, the teams still retain many players who were part of the championship clubs.

The rivalry between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers started in the late 70s and peaked in the late 90s and early 2000s. Since 1999, the teams have met in the NBA Playoffs 7 times, with the clubs combining to appear in seven straight NBA Finals from 1999–2005. Additionally, the teams won each NBA Title from 1999–2003 (the Spurs won in 1999 and 2003, while the Lakers won in 2000, 2001, and 2002). From 1999–2004, the rivalry was considered as the NBA's best,[43] as each time the clubs faced each other in the playoffs, the winner advanced to the NBA Finals. The rivalry fell off from 2005–07, with the Lakers missing the playoffs in 2005 and losing in the first round to the Phoenix Suns in 2006 and 2007, but intensified again in 2008 when they met in the Western Conference Finals. Both teams met once again for the 12th time in 2013 in the first round, with the Spurs winning in four games.

Dallas Mavericks[edit]

The rivalry between the San Antonio Spurs and the Dallas Mavericks features two teams with Dallas roots. The Spurs began their life in the ABA as the Dallas Chaparrals and did not move to San Antonio until 1973. On October 11, 1980, the Mavs made their NBA debut by defeating the Spurs 103–92. In the playoffs the Spurs defeated the Mavericks in 2001, 2003, and 2010; while the Mavericks defeated the Spurs in 2006 and 2009. The Spurs have won four championships and five conference titles, while the Mavericks have won one championship and two conference titles. The Spurs have won 15 division titles, while the Mavericks have won 3. Both the Spurs and the Mavericks have 3 60-win seasons.

The two teams met in the playoffs during the 2000–2001 season with the Spurs winning in five games. Little was made during this series, as the Spurs won their first NBA championship only two years before. The Mavericks, run by a trio of Steve Nash, Michael Finley, and Dirk Nowitzki, had just defeated the Utah Jazz, despite not having home court advantage, and were only starting to meld into a title contender.

The rivalry took on a new meaning in 2005 when, near the end of the regular season, Don Nelson resigned as Dallas' head coach, apparently dissatisfied with the state of the team, and handed the coaching reins to former Spur Avery Johnson, the point guard of the 1999 NBA champion Spurs team who hit the game-winning shot against the New York Knicks. Since Johnson was coached under Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich, he would be familiar with most, if not all, of Popovich's coaching style and philosophy. During the 2005 offseason, Michael Finley, waived by the Mavericks under the amnesty clause, joined the Spurs in search for an elusive title victory, that he finally was part of with the Spurs in 2007. Ironically, part of his salary was being paid for by the Mavericks during that season to allow for cap room.

The Mavericks were swept in the 2012–13 season by the Spurs for the first time since the 1998 season, Tim Duncan’s rookie season. In their last match up of the season, San Antonio escaped with a 95–94 victory over Dallas when a Vince Carter 3-point attempt bounced off the rim at the buzzer. With that win, the Spurs clinched a playoff spot for a 16th straight season, currently the longest streak in the NBA. San Antonio also reached 50 wins for a 14th consecutive season, the longest streak in NBA history.[44]

Houston Rockets[edit]

Also known as the I-10 Rivalry since San Antonio and Houston both lie on the path of the Interstate 10 freeway. The rivalry between the San Antonio Spurs and the Houston Rockets began in 1976 when the Spurs were absorbed into the NBA from the American Basketball Association, along with the Denver Nuggets, the New York Nets, and the Indiana Pacers. The Rockets and Spurs competed for the division title, with the Rockets winning it first in 1977 and the Spurs in 1978 and 1979. In 1980, they met in the playoffs for the first time as the Rockets led by Moses Malone and Calvin Murphy beat the Spurs led by George Gervin and James Silas 2–1. The rivalry grew intense as both teams moved from the East to the West. They met again in 1981, this time in the second round. The Spurs had home-court advantage, and were heavily favored, winning the Midwest Division Title and the Rockets only 40–42. The Rockets and Spurs fought to the bitter end before the Rockets held on to win Game 7 capped by Murphy's 42 points. The Rockets would advance to the Finals in a losing cause to the Boston Celtics. The rivalry continued in 1995 when the defending champion Rockets led by Hakeem Olajuwon beat the top-seeded Spurs led by MVP David Robinson in the Western Conference Finals, despite only being the sixth seed, with Olajuwon, who had won the previous year's MVP, being widely regarded as having outplayed Robinson. In a regular season game early in the 2005 season, the Spurs were leading the Rockets very late in the 4th quarter by eight points. Houston's Tracy McGrady went on a personal 13-4 run in the final 35 seconds to miraculously steal the game away from San Antonio, including the game winning 3 pointer with one second remaining to the delight of the Toyota Center crowd. In 2014, the Rockets who were now led by James Harden and Dwight Howard, took the season series for the first time since Tim Duncan entered the league in 1997, sweeping the first three games, including both in San Antonio, one of which the Rockets lead wire-to-wire.

Phoenix Suns[edit]

The rivalry between the San Antonio Spurs and the Phoenix Suns began in the 1990s when the San Antonio Spurs were led by "The Admiral", David Robinson, and the Phoenix Suns were propelled by a number of players including Dan Majerle, Kevin Johnson, and Tom Chambers. The rivalry continued into the next decade with Tim Duncan leading the Spurs and with the Suns headed by Steve Nash. In 2003, the Spurs beat the Suns 4-2 in the first round. In 2005, the Spurs beat the Suns 4-1 in the Conference Finals. In 2007, the Spurs beat the Suns 4-2 in the Conference Semi Finals. There was a controversial ruling in game 4 when Diaw and Stoudemire left the bench during an altercation and were suspended for game 5. In 2008, the Spurs beat the Suns 4-1 in the first round. Tim Duncan hit a three-pointer to force overtime and win the series. In 2010, the Suns swept the Spurs in four games in the playoffs.

Logo and uniforms[edit]

The Spurs sported the simple rounded black and white lettered uniforms during much of the 1980s.[45]

Since becoming the San Antonio Spurs in 1973, the team colors have been black, silver and white. The distinctive logo of the word Spurs in Eurostile font, with the stylized spur substituting for the letter U, has been a part of the team's identity since their move to San Antonio.[46] The logo incorporated 'Fiesta colors' of pink, orange and teal, used from 1989–2002 (though the uniforms remained the same), and alignment from straight to arched beginning with the 2002–03 NBA season.

The Spurs have always worn black on the road and white at home, except during the 1973–76 ABA seasons and their first NBA season when the home uniform was always silver. Until the 1988–89 NBA season the road uniform had "San Antonio" on the front while the home uniform featured the team nickname adopted from the Spurs logo; from 1973–82 the road uniform lettering is black with silver trim. In addition, from 1977–81 a saddle-like striping was featured on the back of the home shorts. Since the 1989–90 NBA season the Spurs uniform has remained practically the same, with the road uniform now using the team nickname from their logo; a minor change included the addition of another black (road) and white (home) trim to the already silver-trimmed block numbers in the 2002–03 season. The Spurs wear black sneakers and socks on the road, and white sneakers and socks at home (except for select games with the silver alternates), a practice that began in the 2002–03 season. When the NBA moved to the Adidas Revolution 30 technology for the 2010–11 season, the Spurs changed to v-neck jerseys and eliminated striping on the shorts' beltline.

On September 19, 2012, the Spurs unveiled a silver alternate uniform. In breaking from the traditional practice of placing the team or city name in front, the Spurs' new uniform features only the stylized spur logo, with the black number trimmed in white and silver on the upper right. The Spurs primary logo is atop the player name and number on the back, while the Eurostile 'SA' initials (for San Antonio) are on the left leg of the shorts. Black, silver and white side stripes are also featured on the uniform. The uniforms are worn for select home games. A variation of this uniform, featuring military camouflage patterns instead of the usual silver, was used for two games in the 2013–14 season.

At times throughout the season, the Spurs wear a jersey that says "Los Spurs" on the front, in recognition of Latino fans both at home and across the US and Latin America. The Spurs were one of the first NBA teams to wear these branded jerseys. In 2014 the jerseys became sleeved. These events are called "Noches Latinas", first launched during the 2006-07 NBA season, part of an Hispanic marketing campaign known as “éne-bé-a”.[47] Six teams in the NBA participate in these events. The Spurs have had the most players from Latin America and are one of of only three NBA teams who have had at least five players on their rosters who originate from Latin America and Spain (if one includes Puerto Rico as part of Latin America, although it is a US territory), the others being the Memphis Grizzlies and the Portland Trailblazers.[48]

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Dallas Chaparrals (H) jersey
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Dallas Chaparrals (A) jersey
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San Antonio Spurs (H) jersey
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Season-by-season records[edit]

Arena history[edit]

Dallas (Texas) Chaparrals

San Antonio Spurs

Players of note[edit]

Current roster[edit]

San Antonio Spurs roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Name Height Weight DOB (YYYY–MM–DD) From
F/C 11 Ayres, Jeff 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 250 lb (113 kg) 1987–04–29 Arizona State
F/C 16 Baynes, Aron 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 260 lb (118 kg) 1986–12–09 Washington State
G 3 Belinelli, Marco 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1986–03–25 Italy
F/C 15 Bonner, Matt 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 235 lb (107 kg) 1980–04–05 Florida
F 23 Daye, Austin 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 200 lb (91 kg) 1988–06–05 Gonzaga
F/C 33 Diaw, Boris 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 235 lb (107 kg) 1982–04–16 France
F/C 21 Duncan, Tim (C) 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 255 lb (116 kg) 1976–04–25 Wake Forest
G 20 Ginóbili, Manu 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 205 lb (93 kg) 1977–07–28 Argentina
G/F 4 Green, Danny 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1987–06–22 North Carolina
F 7 James, Damion 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 225 lb (102 kg) 1987–10–07 Texas
G 5 Joseph, Cory 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1991–08–20 Texas
G/F 2 Leonard, Kawhi 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 225 lb (102 kg) 1991–06–29 San Diego State
G 8 Mills, Patty 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1988–08–11 Saint Mary's
G 9 Parker, Tony (C) 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1982–05–17 France
C 22 Splitter, Tiago 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 240 lb (109 kg) 1985–01–01 Brazil
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)
Athletic trainer(s)
  • Will Sevening
Strength and conditioning coach(es)
  • Matt Herring

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • (DL) On assignment to D-League affiliate
  • Injured Injured

RosterTransactions
Last transaction: 2014–04–13

Retired numbers[edit]

San Antonio Spurs retired numbers
No. Player Position Tenure
00 Johnny Moore G 1980–88, 1989–90
6 Avery Johnson G 1991, 1992–1993, 1994–2001
12 Bruce Bowen F 2001–09
13 James Silas G 1972–81
32 Sean Elliott F 1989–93, 1994–2001
44 George Gervin 1 G 1974–85
50 David Robinson 1 C 1989–2003

1 Also Hall of Famers.

International rights[edit]

The Spurs own the NBA rights to the players listed in the table below. The typical pattern is to allow the player to develop in leagues outside the USA. The player is free to negotiate contracts in other leagues and is not obligated to play in the NBA. Sometimes, a player's overseas contract may have an expensive buyout clause that would discourage the Spurs from seeking to bring him in. The Spurs have had past success in finding foreign talent; some examples of this success include the selections of second rounder Manu Ginóbili (Flag of Argentina.svg 1999 NBA Draft 57th pick) and first rounder Tony Parker (Flag of France.svg 2001 NBA Draft 28th pick), who have both become All Stars.

F France Livio Jean-Charles 2013 NBA Draft 28th pick
F United States Deshaun Thomas 2013 NBA Draft 58th pick
G United States Marcus Denmon 2012 NBA Draft 59th pick
F Latvia Dāvis Bertāns 2011 NBA Draft Originally drafted by the Indiana Pacers with the 42nd pick
G/F Hungary Ádám Hanga 2011 NBA Draft 59th pick
F United Kingdom Ryan Richards 2010 NBA Draft 49th pick
F/C Slovenia Erazem Lorbek 2005 NBA Draft Originally drafted by the Indiana Pacers with the 46th pick
F Georgia (country) Viktor Sanikidze 2004 NBA Draft Originally drafted by the Atlanta Hawks with the 42nd pick
C Uzbekistan Sergei Karaulov 2004 NBA Draft 58th pick
C Lithuania Robertas Javtokas 2001 NBA Draft 56th pick

Basketball Hall of Famers[edit]

Franchise leaders[edit]

Bold denotes still active with team. "Name*" includes points scored for the team while in the ABA. Italics denotes still active but not with team.

Points scored (regular season) (as of the end of the 2013–14 season)[49]

Other Statistics (regular season) (as of the end of the 2013–14 season)[49]

Minutes Played

Rebounds

Assists

Steals

Blocks

Individual awards[edit]

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

All-ABA First Team

All-ABA Second Team

NBA All-Defensive First Team

NBA All-Defensive Second Team

NBA Rookie First Team

NBA Rookie Second Team

ABA All-Rookie Team

All-Star selections[edit]

Notable former players[edit]

For a complete list of current and former players, see the San Antonio Spurs players category.

Head coaches[edit]

Years Active Name Record (W–L) Winning Percentage Playoff Record
(W–L)
Postseason Percentage Playoff Appearances Division Titles Conference Titles NBA Championships Current Status
19961–present Gregg Popovich 967-443 .686 118–77 .605 16 11 5 4 Head Coach, Spurs
1994–961 Bob Hill 124–58 .681 14–11 .560 2 2 0 0 Fired by Seattle SuperSonics, April 2007
19922–94 John Lucas 94–49 .657 6–8 .429 2 0 0 0 Assistant Coach, Los Angeles Clippers
19922 Jerry Tarkanian 9–11 .450 N/A N/A 0 0 0 0 Retired from Fresno State in 2002
19923 Bob Bass 26–18 .591 0–3 .000 1 0 0 0 Retired as GM of New Orleans Hornets in 2004
1988–923 Larry Brown 153–131 .539 7–7 .500 2 2 0 0 Head Coach at Southern Methodist University
1986–88 Bob Weiss 59–105 .360 0–3 .000 1 0 0 0 Fired by Seattle SuperSonics, January 2006
1984–86 Cotton Fitzsimmons 76–88 .463 2–6 .250 2 0 0 0 Deceased
19834–84 Bob Bass 26–25 .510 N/A N/A 0 0 0 0 Retired as GM of New Orleans Hornets in 2004
19834 Morris McHone 11–20 .355 N/A N/A 0 0 0 0 Head Coach, Sioux Falls Skyforce
1980–83 Stan Albeck 153–93 .622 13–14 .481 3 3 0 0 Partially paralyzed by stroke in 2001
19805 Bob Bass 8–8 .500 1–2 .333 1 0 0 0 Retired as GM of New Orleans Hornets in 2004
1976–805 Doug Moe 177–135 .567 9–13 .409 3 2 0 0 Assistant Coach, Denver Nuggets

1During the 1996–97 season, Bob Hill coached 18 regular season games. Hill was fired on December 10, 1996, and Gregg Popovich coached the remaining 64 regular season games.
2During the 1992–93 season, Jerry Tarkanian coached 20 regular season games. Tarkanian was fired on December 18, 1992. Rex Hughes then coached one regular season game, and John Lucas coached the remaining 61 regular season games as well as the playoffs.
3During the 1991–92 season, Larry Brown coached 38 regular season games. Brown was fired on January 21, 1992, and Bob Bass coached the remaining 44 regular season games as well as the playoffs.
4During the 1983–84 season, Morris McHone coached 31 regular season games. McHone was fired on December 28, 1983, and Bob Bass coached the remaining 51 regular season games.
5During the 1979–80 season, Doug Moe coached 66 regular season games. Moe was fired on March 1, 1980, and Bob Bass coached the remaining 16 regular season games as well as the playoffs.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "History". Carver Academy. 2001-09-17. Retrieved 2013-01-27. 
  2. ^ "George Gervin Youth Center". Iceman44.org. 2012-12-12. Retrieved 2013-01-27. 
  3. ^ www.spursportal.com. "San Antonio Spurs News, Schedule, Players, Scores, Stats, history... @ Spursportal". Spursportal.com. Retrieved 2013-01-27. 
  4. ^ http://www.woai.com/content/blogs/don/story/Spurs-rodeo-road-trip-more-important-than-ever/3YLxk--nsUWdXZH56T495w.cspx
  5. ^ 2002-03 San Antonio Spurs Schedule and Results | Basketball-Reference.com
  6. ^ "Spurs parade for 4th NBA champion title". Chinadaily.com.cn. Retrieved 2013-01-27. 
  7. ^ "Dallas Chaparrals (1967–1973)". sportsecyclopedia.com. October 6, 2005. Retrieved January 26, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Dallas Chaparrals History". Remembertheaba.com. January 5, 1971. Retrieved May 21, 2009. 
  9. ^ "San Antonio Spurs page". Remembertheaba.com. Retrieved May 21, 2009. 
  10. ^ "Spurs ABA History". Remembertheaba.com. Retrieved May 21, 2009. 
  11. ^ Darren Rovell. Spirit of ABA deal lives on for Silna brothers. ESPN.com, January 22, 2001.
  12. ^ Dave Anderson. SPORTS OF THE TIMES; THE ROBINSON PLOT THICKENS, The New York Times, May 18, 1987.
  13. ^ Tom Orsborn. 14, 2015%2011:59%20PM&s_username=safree&s_accountid=AC0106020315182914953&s_upgradeable=no?p_action=doc&p_theme=saec&p_topdoc=1&p_docnum=1&p_sort=YMD_date:D&p_product=SAEC&p_docid=11944F93C77C7D18&p_text_direct-0=document_id=(%2011944F93C77C7D18%20)&&s_dlid=DL0107060621382819968&s_ecproduct=SUB-FREE&s_subterm=Subscription%20until:%2012/14/2015%2011:59%20PM&s_subexpires=December 14, 2015%2011:59%20PM&s_username=safree&s_accountid=AC0106020315182914953&s_upgradeable=no&mysa_login=1 The Summer Our Ship Came In San Antonio Express-News, May 20, 2007.
  14. ^ [1], databasebasketball.com, accessed May 19, 2008.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g [2], sportsecyclopedia.com, April 23, 2009, accessed May 13, 2008.
  16. ^ "Parker perplexed once again", San Antonio Express-News, May 14, 2004.
  17. ^ "S.A. is heartbreak city", San Antonio Express-News, May 14, 2004.
  18. ^ a b c Fisher's Jumper Gives Lakers Dramatic Game 5 Win, NBA.com, May 13, 2004. Retrieved February 7, 2007.
  19. ^ David Barron. Triple Crown bid nabs viewers, Houston Chronicle, May 17, 2004.
  20. ^ Steve Wyche. No Time to Lose, The Washington Post, May 14, 2004. Retrieved February 7, 2007.
  21. ^ a b c d [3], sports.yahoo.com, March 20, 2005, accessed May 13, 2008.
  22. ^ [4], basketball-reference.com, May 12, 2005, accessed May 20, 2009.
  23. ^ [5], sportsecyclopedia.com, April 23, 2009, accessed May 20, 2008.
  24. ^ [6], hiphopmusic.com, May 20, 2006, accessed May 20, 2009.
  25. ^ Duncan says his fourth ring finest of all, espn.com, June 18, 2007. Retrieved August 21, 2007.
  26. ^ Lee, Michael (June 15, 2007). "For Spurs, a Familiar Ring". The Washington Post. pp. E01. Retrieved July 17, 2009. 
  27. ^ Ford, Chad (June 24, 2009). "San Antonio Spurs get Richard Jefferson from Milwaukee Bucks for 3 players – ESPN". ESPN. Retrieved July 11, 2009. 
  28. ^ Arnovitz, Kevin (July 9, 2009). "The Back of the (Really Large Manila) Envelope Guide to the Las Vegas Summer League – TrueHoop By Henry Abbott – ESPN". ESPN. Retrieved July 11, 2009. 
  29. ^ Flores, David (July 9, 2009). "Spurs fans are going to enjoy watching Blair work under the boards". mysanantonio.com. Retrieved July 11, 2009. 
  30. ^ McDonald, Jeff (June 25, 2009). "Spurs see Blair as steal". mysanantonio.com. Retrieved July 11, 2009. 
  31. ^ Monroe, Mike (July 11, 2009). "Spurs' low-key tactics land McDyess". mysanantonio.com. Retrieved July 16, 2009. 
  32. ^ "Spurs Sign 2010 Draft Pick James Anderson | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE SAN ANTONIO SPURS". Nba.com. Retrieved 2013-01-27. 
  33. ^ Official Release. "Spurs' Popovich named Coach of the Year". 
  34. ^ Yahoo Sports: Tim Duncan cut his paycheck in half, so that his San Antonio Spurs could remain whole Retrieved Oct. 12, 2012
  35. ^ Report: Nando De Colo To Sign Two Year Deal With Spurs (Update)", Air Alamo, 13 July 2012.
  36. ^ "Spurs Sign Tracy McGrady". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. April 16, 2013. Retrieved May 27, 2013. 
  37. ^ Notebook: Spurs 94, Warriors 82
  38. ^ Notebook: Spurs 93, Grizzlies 86
  39. ^ http://www.nba.com/games/20130620/SASMIA/gameinfo.html
  40. ^ Notebook: Spurs 133, Nuggets 102
  41. ^ Notebook: Spurs 96, Pelicans 80
  42. ^ Notebook: Spurs 103, Pacers 77
  43. ^ Aparicio, Ricardo (April 23, 2004). "Glamour vs. Grit: The perfect NBA rivalry". InsideHoops.com. Retrieved April 14, 2007. 
  44. ^ Spurs edge Mavericks to sweep season series
  45. ^ "Going Retro: San Antonio Spurs". NBA.com. Retrieved 2013-01-27. 
  46. ^ San Antonio Spurs' first logo, 1973
  47. ^ éne•bé•a
  48. ^ All-Time List of NBA Latino Players
  49. ^ a b "Nuggets Career Leaders : Statistics". Basketball Reference. 2011-06-27. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  • All facts and records taken from the San Antonio Spurs' history section.

External links[edit]