The Spurs are 32-9, battling for the best record in the West and looking like an elite team most nights. At least one scout thinks they are the same old Spurs, winning games while pacing themselves through the regular season and they are the class of the conference again.
But there are questions — they are 1-8 this season against the best teams on their schedule (the Trail Blazers, Rockets, Thunder, Clippers and Pacers). There are reports the Spurs are being more aggressive than normal on the trade market, which can be taken as a sign management thinks they need a little more to get over the top this season.
If you don’t believe me that it’s a concern, look at what Manu Ginobili told the Express-News after the Spurs lost to the Trail Blazers at home last week.
“When it happens the first three times, four times, five times,” Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said, “then you say, ‘Okay, things happen. The schedule and…’ Now it’s eight (losses), so there has to be a tendency now.”
That one win? Over the Clippers without Chris Paul.
Coach Gregg Popovich was cryptic when asked about it.
“We look everything square in the eye,” said Popovich, when asked about his team’s shortcomings against the NBA’s best.
The Spurs miss the defense of Tiago Splitter and guys like Danny Green that were key in last season’s playoff run have not yet found their form but may very well. Plus, the Spurs treat the regular season as a prelude to the games that matter, they don’t get up for matchups (just the opposite, Popovich often rests key guys in those games).
Still, it makes you wonder if the Spurs really do have another run in them. This is far too early to try and judge how San Antonio will play come April and May, and this is a team with a top 5 offense and defense, but we need to see more of them in big games to get a better picture.
This week the Spurs get Oklahoma City (without Russell Westbrook) and the Miami Heat, two games worth watching just to see how they approach and play in those games.