The Spurs had three games this week, all at home, dropping one of them to the Knicks while winning the other two against the Nets and short-handed Clips. The bigger story though was Tiago Splitter's shoulder injury, which is expected to keep the Brazilian center out 3-5 weeks.
Spurs Aren't Sunk Without Splitter
It's not a silver lining, and it's not the cliche "blessing in disguise." Being without the Brazilian pivot man for three to five weeks as he recovers from a sprained shoulder isn't the end of the world for the Spurs.
No one's all too worried about the loss to NYK, especially after the Knicks followed their win in SA by almost beating the Rockets in Houston the next day and then beating the Mavs in Dallas two nights later. What isn't quite certain is how the Spurs will adjust to the absence of Splitter. Surely someone will step up to make the occasional reverse layup, but it's his impact on the defensive end that will be most missed.
It's a bit surprising to see the oft-underappreciated player mentioned so much across the rankings, but it's good to see him get the respect he deserves as a key part of the team. Naturally the only song that comes to mind in these nebulous times is from Norwegian rock sensation, the DumDum Boys.
Marc Stein from ESPN, (Spurs rank: 6, last week's rank: 5)
Saturday night against the Chris Paul-less Clips marked the first 35-point halftime lead of the longest active coaching tenure in North American team sports. Yet something tells me that, Pop being Pop, he's been thinking much more about the severity of Tiago Splitter's shoulder issues than that eruption.
Marc J. Spears from Yahoo! Sports (Spurs rank: 5, last week's rank: 5)
Starting center Tiago Splitter, who is averaging 8.6 points and 6.2 rebounds, is out three to five weeks with a sprained right shoulder.
Jason Patt from SBNation NBA (Spurs rank: 3, last week's rank: 5)
The Spurs had quite the eventful week. Two blowouts were sandwiched around a tough loss to the Knicks that featured a crazy shooting duel between Marco Belinelli and Iman Shumpert. The week ended with the news that big man Tiago Splitter would miss three-to-five weeks with a shoulder injury.
USA Today (Spurs rank: 3, last week's rank: 5)
Manu Ginobili is playing as if he still has not forgotten the NBA Finals.
John Schuhmann from NBA.com (Spurs rank: 5, last week's rank: 5)
Through Nov. 29, the Spurs ranked second defensively. Since then, they've ranked 18th, allowing almost 12 more points per 100 possessions over their last 18 games than they did over their first 16. And now the D becomes a real concern, because Tiago Splitter is out with a shoulder injury. Their offense is better with him on the bench, but the Spurs' D has been at its best with Splitter on the floor.
Matt Moore from CBSSports.com (Spurs rank: 6, last week's rank 7)
That loss to the Knicks could be the spark they need to go on another inferno run if the Clippers win is an indication, but there are legitimate concerns on both sides of the ball for the reigning Western champs.