To watch the Spurs this season is to become unpleasantly familiar with the quirks of the human body—kinda like when you first met your nudist neighbors. Roll on snare drum.
Since the beginning of the year, we've seen a growing list of injuries to nearly every man on the squad, and though Tiago and Danny have both recently returned, San Antonio's still playing without Manu and Kawhi, while Tony Parker continues to deal with a hurt back. The only player to appear in all 51 games this season? That would be Patty Mills, who delivered a huge 32-point performance against the Bobcats on Saturday.
Going 3-1 to start the annual Rodeo Road Trip – the only loss coming in the Brooklyn game where most starters rested – San Antonio has risen as high as third in the latest batch of rankings. This week has two winnable games (including tonight's matchup in Detroit) before entering the All-Star break, meaning they should hopefully improve on their 37-14 record and close the gap between them and the first-place Oklahoma City Thunder.
While I like to imagine the team breaking into a bit of "Tiny Dancer", I think this week's tune equally captures the spirit of them hitting the road this time every year.
Marc Stein from ESPN, (Spurs rank: 7, last week's rank: 9)
I'm guessing you already know about the 8,989 miles they'll travel Feb. 3-26 without playing a home game. I suspect you also know that the Spurs, even with all of those injuries, are 3-1 on this Rodeo Road Trip so far and still possess the magic dust to coax a 32-point game out of Patty Mills.
Marc J. Spears from Yahoo! Sports (Spurs rank: 5, last week's rank: 6)
All-Star break comes just in time for the injury-plagued Spurs to heal. Starters Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili are still out.
Jason Patt from SBNation NBA (Spurs rank: 7, last week's rank: 10)
Despite a depleted roster, the Spurs had a rather productive week, going 3-1 on the start of their nine-game Rodeo Road Trip. The hero in the last victory was Patty Mills, who scored a season-high 32 points in a win over the Bobcats.
USA Today (Spurs rank: 3, last week's rank: 4)
Are they really still the Spurs when Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili sit?
John Schuhmann from NBA.com (Spurs rank: 5, last week's rank: 8)
The Spurs have been so snakebit by injuries, two of their healthiest guys broke their nose in Thursday's loss in Brooklyn, and one of those noses was already broken! Considering what they've been going through, it's amazing they've won four of their last five games. Patty Mills has averaged 18.2 points in just 22.2 minutes in that stretch, dropping 32 on the Bobcats' top-10 defense on Saturday.
Matt Moore from CBSSports.com (Spurs rank: 5, last week's rank 7)
The injuries are going to be an issue for a while, but when they have guys like Patty Mills step up and score 30, they won't drop off much. This season feels worse for San Antonio than it actually is.