The Fifth Quarter: Spurs remind everyone Western Conference still a battle

NBA null null null null null null null null null null null null null null null Basketball null null null null null null null

There's been a lot of talk surrounding the the defending champion Warriors breezing through the "down" Western Conference and taking up their seemingly annual spot in the NBA Finals. But Gregg Popovich and the Spurs reminded everyone Saturday night why they shouldn't be disregarded just yet.

San Antonio (29-6) cruised to a 121-103 victory against the struggling Rockets, spearheaded by a 19-point advantage in the third quarter. Nobody actually wrote the Spurs off, but it just seems like they haven't been getting the respect they deserve up to this point.

MORE: 10 bold NBA predictions for 2016 | All-time greatest Spurs

Led by budding superstar Kawhi Leonard and star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio boasts enough fire power to make a deep postseason run. It was Leonard and Aldridge leading the way Saturday, as Leonard scored 22 points with six rebounds and Aldridge scored a game-high 24 points on just 16 shot attempts.

The Warriors, when healthy, have looked unbeatable this season. Yet, playing in San Antonio in May is never easy.

Kings score 142 points in explosive win against Suns

On a day when George Karl tied Phil Jackson for fifth on the NBA's all-time coaching wins list, the Kings scored their most points in a single game this season thanks to a balanced attack from almost everyone on the roster. Twelve different players scored for Sacramento as the Karl-led Kings (13-20) got a much-needed win. DeMarcus Cousins led the way with a game-high 32 points and nine rebounds. Rajon Rondo certainly did his part as well, scoring 15 points and dishing out 15 assists. The Kings shot 60.9 percent from the field and 39.1 percent from beyond the arc. The Suns (12-24) have lost 10 of their past 11 games, including eight in a row.


We think this guy's a Cavs fan:

Leonard blows by Patrick Beverley:

Danny Green finally caught fire:

Stud of the Night:

Pacers small forward Paul George fell into a funk in December but busted out of it in a big way Thursday against the Bucks and continued his fine play in Saturday's 94-82 win against the Pistons. George finished with 32 points — 21 of which came during the fourth quarter — on 9-of-18 shooting and hauled in 14 rebounds. It was only George's fourth double-double since the start of December.

Dud of the Night:

Magic point guard Elfrid Payton epitomized the putrid effort Orlando put up against the Cavaliers. After losing by 35 points at home earlier in the season against Cleveland, Payton and the Magic didn't improve much on the road Saturday, losing 104-79. Payton recorded zero points, turned the ball over twice and lasted just over 16 minutes. It's easy to pick on Payton, but the rest of the Magic starting lineup wasn't much better.

What's Next:

Bulls (19-12) at Raptors (21-13) 3:30 p.m.: As rookie power forward Bobby Portis has become a legitimate threat on the offensive end, Chicago has morphed into a multi-dimensional team that can score points as well as beat a team defensively. Toronto's DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry present a stern test, however, especially on the road.

Heat (19-13) at Wizards (15-16) 6 p.m.: Goran Dragic has finally shaken out of his early slump. He looks a lot like the guy making heat waves in Phoenix and less like the guy afraid to shoot alongside Dwyane Wade. Like the Bulls with Portis, Washington's first-round pick Kelly Oubre is starting to find his feet in the NBA.