After going 2-1 in its oriental overture to the Rodeo Road Trip, San Antonio's headed west -- the way of Horatio Alger, Davy Crockett and the Donner Party -- to close out what is traditionally one of their stronger stretches of the season. There are six games left over the next two weeks, four of which are against the conference's top eight teams.
As would be expected given the extended All-Star break, there wasn't too much movement in the leaguewide rankings. And even with the Spurs winning both of their contests last week, they did slip a spot in John Schumann's list. But health is on the minds of many experts, and for once it's not about who's out. The team's as close to full strength as it's ever been, and it's time to string together a few strong performances and take advantage of a Western Conference that's wide open (well, up to the third slot at least).
Marc Stein, from ESPN, (Spurs rank: 4. Last week's rank: 6)
They've battled injuries, age and the nightly frustration of life in the loaded West. But the reigning champs recently played their first game all season with a full squad ... just in time for the famed Rodeo Road Trip. As is custom, write them off at your own risk. (Andrew McNeill, 48 Minutes Of Hell)
Drew Garrison, from SB Nation NBA, (Spurs rank: 9. Last week's rank: 9)
The Spurs got some extra rest under their belt for the last leg of the season, which starts off with a bang. San Antonio faces the Clippers, Warriors and Trail Blazers, all during a six-game road trip. Cleaning house against playoff contenders would be a great way for the defending champions to kickstart a big run into the playoffs.
Marc J. Spears, from Yahoo Sports, (Spurs rank: 7. Last week's rank: 7)
Amar'e Stoudemire could be a solid acquisition for the Spurs, but he recently told Yahoo Sports it will be hard for him to play in back-to-back games.
USA Today, (Spurs rank: N/A. Last week's rank: 8)
John Schuhmann, from NBA.com, (Spurs rank: 9. Last week's rank: 8)
The Spurs went 2-1 on the East portion of the rodeo trip, but begin the West portion with a back-to-back against the Clippers and Warriors. Gregg Popovich still hasn't settled on a starting lineup (Aron Baynes and Matt Bonner both started at center last week), but with a healthy roster, he has all of his options. The Spurs are 25-10 with Kawhi Leonard.
Matt Moore, from CBS Sports, (Spurs rank: N/A. Last week's rank: 8)