The Spurs winning streak is up to seven after a win in Boston, Aron Baynes is hitting threes, Gregg Popovich is back on the bench and -- wait a second, Aron Baynes is making threes?!
Forget everything else. Is the world ready for this? 260 pounds of crocodile-punching power casually pulling up for a 25-footer? Baynesie is already getting more comfortable setting screens and rolling to the hoop, but adding a pick-and-pop wrinkle could truly mean the NBA's reckoning. Not only does he give San Antonio another perimeter threat in games, but this revelation comes with another plus: Baynes spending more time on the perimeter in practice could mean less friendly-fire injuries happening around the basket during team scrimmages.
Speaking of haphazard occurrences (and more sobering news), it's rumored that Tony Parker may have hurt (possibly broken) a rib during practice. Nothing concrete has surfaced as of this writing, but we'll keep you posted, especially if it means him missing extended time.
The Spurs won't likely need the Frenchman's services tonight, as they look to extend their winning streak to eight against the 0-16 Philadelphia 76ers. The big game this week will be Friday night when they tussle with the West-leading Grizzlies in Memphis.
The criticism of the team at beginning of last season revolved around its lack of 'quality wins', and the opportunity to snag many of these hasn't surfaced yet. If you're worried about that, don't fret -- just take a look at the mid-late December schedule. Gulp.
In the meantime, the fire rises.
Marc Stein from ESPN, (Spurs rank: 3, last week's rank: 4)
Questions persist about the severity of the "broken rib" Tony Parker just revealed and the ongoing Tiago Splitter calf issues that even Pop says have left the Spurs "very confused." What I'd really like to know, though, is what on Earth Pop has in mind to try to cheer up his buddy Brett Brown on Monday night?
Drew Garrison from SBNation NBA (Spurs rank: 3, last week's rank: 5)
Remember that slow start from the Spurs? Good, now forget it. This is how they roll.
Mark J. Spears from Yahoo! Sports (Spurs rank: 4, last week's rank: 9)
How good is the West? The Spurs are winners of seven straight and 10 of 11, but own the fifth-best record in the Western Conference.
USA Today (Spurs rank: 5, last week's rank: 8)
Kawhi Leonard has improved his scoring, rebound and assist averages every season.
John Schuhmann from NBA.com (Spurs rank: 3, last week's rank: 5)
Kawhi Leonard averaged 23.7 points over the last three games of The Finals, but had never averaged 20-plus over three straight regular season games until last week, when he scored 21, 21 and 19 against the Nets, Pacers and Kings. Two of those games were coached by Ettore Messina, so you could say that Gregg Popovich is Leonard's Dean Smith.
Matt Moore from CBSSports.com (Spurs rank: 5, last week's rank: 8)
Wait, what? Where did this gigantic, hulking killer robot come from? The Spurs kind of emerged from the shadows, like some evil force and are looming over the league. The Tiago Splitter injury continues to hang, and they haven't played anyone super tough lately, but this club has the feel of a top-three team in the next two weeks.