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Power Rankings Week 9: Weary Spurs looking to bounce back after tough week

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Pop's called it the toughest month he's ever seen, schedule-wise. How did a winless week impact the Spurs' place in the Power Rankings?

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Note: Let's pretend that the Clippers game hasn't happened yet. It's better that way.

No wins. Four losses. Two on the road against the Blazers and Mavs. The other two, triple-overtime defeats. Much like egg nog made with month-old milk, last week has left a bad taste in the mouths of most Spurs fans. You can excuse us if reflecting on it sounds a bit like Quint's visceral monologue aboard the Orca. But instead of thirteen-foot tigers and their cold, dead eyes, we're talking about Marc Gasol thirty-footers and Damian Lillard's cold, dead eyes.

Another surly, grizzled old-timer, Coach Gregg Popovich, had similarly doomful things to say about this difficult stretch of games:

"This is the worst month I've ever seen for us (schedule-wise). We're just trying to get through it."

Playing entirely without Tony Parker and resting the other Big Three for most of the games, Pop had to lean again on guys like Aron Baynes and Cory Joseph to stay close. Despite some good performances, it wasn't enough to pull pull through, and it's no surprise to see San Antonio drop again in the latest batch of rankings. Still, there is a collective approach of wait-and-see with them. No one's counting them out, and they have no reason to.

We've got our usual crop of league experts in this week's post, but (and thanks to Chris Itz for the heads-up on this) we've included Zach Lowe's Western Conference rankings, as well. Many of you know Lowe as Grantland's respected hoops brain, and it's worth checking out his piece just to see who he decided to list at number one.

There are still a handful of tough matchups ahead, but the schedule does get a bit friendlier: seven of the next nine bouts are at home, and things should be a lot merrier once this Black Christmas stretch of games is behind them.

Happy holidays everybody.


Marc Stein from ESPN, (Spurs rank: 10, last week's rank: 4)

The Spurs have played a total of eight overtime periods across four games in what Pop is calling the "worst month I've ever seen for us" schedule-wise. The truly wild part is that they've lost all four of those games, including their first two triple-OT marathons since way back in March 1984.

Drew Garrison from SBNation NBA (Spurs rank: 12, last week's rank: 8)

What a brutal week for San Antonio. They lost a triple-overtime game to the Grizzlies, another triple-overtime game to the Trail Blazers, then waved a white flag against the new-look Mavericks. Four losses, four games, and WAY more minutes than this Spurs team is used to. Seriously, that was like four seasons worth of playing time in Popovich years.

Mark J. Spears from Yahoo! Sports (Spurs rank: 10, last week's rank: 5)

It is very possible injury-plagued San Antonio, losers of four straight, could end up without a top-four West playoff seed.

USA Today (Spurs rank: 10, last week's rank: 6)

They didn't make moves beyond drafting Kyle Anderson this offseason. A midseason trade or signing might be necessary.

John Schuhmann from NBA.com (Spurs rank: 12, last week's rank: 5)

We'll never count out the Spurs, especially when they remain a top-five defense and competitive no matter who takes the floor or how much zone they're playing. But the losses are starting to pile up. Wednesday's loss to the Grizzlies, in which they threw two passes away in the final seconds and shot 13-for-27 from the free throw line, was particularly brutal.

Matt Moore from CBSSports.com (Spurs rank: 14, last week's rank: 13)

The Spurs played six overtimes this week. They may just forfeit a week in January to catch up on rest. And everyone will hail it as the greatest move in the history of basketball.

BONUS!: Grantland's Zach Lowe's W.C. Power Rankings (Spurs rank: 3)

Wake me up when they have their full team. The Spurs are pushing through a wave of injuries similar to the one that wiped out half their rotation for a stretch in the middle of last season, and Gregg Popovich has taken his DNP-Rest game to new levels. Matt Bonner has attempted multiple running hooks in the same game, and Kyle Anderson is out there doing stuff in slo-mo. Home-court advantage is nice, but health and freshness are more important - especially in a conference so competitive that it will be tough for any team to hold serve at home in even just a single series.

Consensus Track: