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Power Rankings, Week 9: Still one of the big cats

The week in review, plus Boris Diaw talking hoops and hippos and Tony Parker talking Bobo's weight loss.

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Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

Following the mild letdown (in the best way possible) that was the matchup between Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, the biggest game from last week happened in Houston on Christmas Day, where San Antonio's seven-game winning streak was snapped by (who else but) the Rockets. The win provided Houston with a glimpse of how it could get its season back on track, but overall it may not have told us much about either team -- aside from the fact that the Rox remain a bugaboo for these Spurs.

Off the court, Boris Diaw spoke with Ananth Pandian of Sports Illustrated a few days ago. Diaw's personality and extracurricular interests, including wildlife photography, make him one of the most interesting players in the league, and it's an interview that's definitely worth a read.

As for fellow Frenchman Tony Parker? When asked why Boris wasn't sitting out games with the same frequency as some of the other veterans on the team, Tony's response came with a dose of cheek.

"I think it's because Pop wants him to lose weight,'' Parker said about his friend and fellow Frenchman. ''But I have to give credit to Bobo though he's been playing very well and been taking care of his body. He's looking good and he played great tonight.''

Diaw sees his lack of rest differently.

''Why would I? I'm so young,'' he said. ''I'm same age as Tony, but I don't age as much as much as they do. I stay young.''

The Spurs run it back against two of last week's opponents this week, first tonight against the Timberwolves and then on Saturday against Houston. They also get the shorthanded Suns at home and finish the week in Milwaukee to talk shop with Jason Kidd on how to take down Golden State. I have the feeling it involves messing with Draymond Green's head.

Marc Stein, from ESPN (Spurs rank: 2, Last week's rank: 2)

We've got tidbits on Kawhi. We've got tidbits on Timmy. And we've got this random but still interesting stat: Tim Duncan has played 1,360 regular-season games and sports a record of 974-386 ... 588 games above .500 And that happens to be equal with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,074-486) for the most games over .500 in NBA history.

USA Today (Spurs rank: 2, Last week's rank: 2)

Just another dominating season by these guys

David Aldridge, (Spurs rank: 2, Last week's rank: 2)

Why wasn't I told about this immediately after it happened? This is brilliant. And as someone trapped in the '80s emotionally, I especially appreciate the A Team motif. (And, I swear, I did not know I was immortalized in Episode 1 until I went back and looked.)

John Schuhmann, (Spurs rank: 2, Last week's rank: 2)

The Spurs laid an egg on Christmas, but are still poised to record the best NetRtg for a month (of at least 10 games) that we've seen in at least 20 years. Going back to the 1996-97 season, the previous high was plus-16.9 by the Bulls in November of '96. The Spurs are at plus-20.2 for December with just two home games against bad teams left before we hang new calendars. They're 17-0 at the AT&T Center.

Matt Moore, CBS Sports (Spurs rank: 2, Last week's rank: 2)

I'm giving them a pass on the Rockets game -- they match up with Houston worse than anyone ever seems to remember each time -- and beyond that they remain superb. They're not invincible like the Warriors, but they're big, scary and still working toward being their best come April, which you should trust they will be.

Jeremy Woo, Sports Illustrated (Spurs rank: 2, Last week's rank: 2)

Over the past 15 games, the Spurs & the Warriors lead the league in point differential (an ungodly +16.9) and are shooting close to 50%, which also rates as best in the league. Sample size is important, of course, but the gap in quality here is not as wide as popular Warriors narrative might suggest. Now that Christmas is over, circle the Jan. 25 Spurs-Dubs meeting on your calendars.

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