Power Rankings Week 23: Spurs still tops, just getting started

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

The Spurs' winning streak may have ended at 19, but that doesn't have many questioning them as the league's top team. Pop's fourth 60-win season might be his most impressive coaching job yet.

The Thunder snapped the Spurs' league-best winning streak before it could hit a nice, round 20, thereby completing a sweep of the season series against San Antonio, 4-0. Tony Parker was forced to exit in the team's bounce-back win against Memphis on Sunday with spasms, and it's been announced that he'll miss at least the next two games.

That sound you hear is a collective "ho-hum" from experts around the league.

The Spurs weren't bumped from their perch in any of our rankings, and as nice as it would've been to get one win against OKC before heading into the postseason, there is some relief in seeing an end to the streak and a renewed focus on the big prize.

The fact that the Spurs didn't slide in the rankings is an affirmation from NBA writers that they are, at least for now, the team to beat. Their point differential of +8.5 is easily tops in the league, and they've dispelled worries of their ability to take on the NBA's best. A nice piece by SBNation's Tom Ziller is one of many that have been written during and after the streak, and hopefully the narrative will only continue in the coming months.

With five games left in the season, the Spurs are close to securing home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. A few more wins (and a few OKC losses) will allow Pop to reel things in a bit, and us to watch the three-team death match between Dallas, Memphis and Phoenix for whom SA will face in the first round.

And since no one has yet mashed up the year's most overplayed track with one of Pop's most classic sound bytes, this week's Consensus Track is a rare twofer.

Marc Stein from ESPN, (Spurs rank: 1, last week's rank: 1)

You can pardon last week's 3-1 mark given the quality of opponents. Even the Spurs, folks, weren't going to finish the season on a 26-game win streak. You can also make it four 60-win seasons for Gregg Popovich, one shy of Phil Jackson's five with the Bulls and Pat Riley's five with the Lakers.

Marc J. Spears from Yahoo! Sports (Spurs rank: 1, last week's rank: 1)

Tony Parker left Sunday's win over Memphis with back spasms. He has missed 10 games this season with lower back tightness.

Jason Patt from SBNation NBA (Spurs rank: 1, last week's rank: 1)

The Spurs' winning streak finally came to an end at 19 straight games at the hands of the Thunder. How did San Antonio respond? By crushing the Grizzlies.

USA Today (Spurs rank: 1, last week's rank: 1)

In this week's NBA power rankings, we pick the unheralded hero of each team this season. For the Spurs, it's Patty Mills, the backup point guard who has become one of their most reliable scorers.

John Schuhmann from NBA.com (Spurs rank: 1, last week's rank: 1)

Is it more concerning that the Spurs still can't beat the Thunder (and allowed them to score over 110 points per 100 possessions in four games this season) or that another back issue knocked Tony Parker out of Sunday's win? Kawhi Leonard's much improved offense since he returned from his broken hand is huge and the Spurs are still a strong No. 1, but the health and OKC questions will persist.

Matt Moore from CBSSports.com (Spurs rank: 1, last week's rank 1)

Their only loss was on the road, on a back-to-back, to the second-best team in the West with matchup advantages when San Antonio was missing three bench players including Manu Ginobili. So no, I'm not dropping them this week, thanks.

Consensus Track(s):

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