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NBA Power Rankings Week 20: It's getting warmer in San Antonio

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The Spurs offense is looking better and better, as the team rebounded from the loss to Cleveland by dropping 123 on Minnesota. Let's see what the league-wide temperature check says about the Silver and Black.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

There's just one month left in a season that's been far more of a journey than one might've expected from a run-it-back repeat campaign. Rotations have been fluid; injuries have been myriad, and the Spurs have endured some painful stretches in December and February.

San Antonio has now won seven of its last eight, and it's putting the ball in the hole with more ease than we've seen all season. Sunday's win against Minnesota was the sixth game in a row the Spurs dropped more than 110 points, a barrage that's come from offensive balance and disruption on defense. On one end the Spurs have been able to create turnovers, while converting them into quick points on the other. Whether they can keep up the steals numbers they've generated lately (they had another 13 yesterday) is hard to say, but it's good to see that kind of activity from a team that, save Kawhi, can't overwhelm opponents physically.

Tiers seem to be forming in the Western Conference picture, with the Warriors in a class of their own, followed by Memphis, Portland and Houston clustering together. At 41-24, San Antonio sits in fifth place, just barely edging the Clippers and Mavericks for the right to play Houston in Round 1. Then there are the Thunder, still trying to distance themselves from the Pelicans (who you have to admire for keeping it a contest).

Manu Ginobili is the big story coming into this week, with the prognosis of a sprained ankle meaning he'll be on ice for at least seven days. That could have him back just when the schedule gets fun again, starting with a Sunday afternoon game against East-leading Atlanta (who the Spurs defeated in their only other matchup this season, 94-92, back in November).

Before facing the Hawks, the Spurs have a back-to-back on the road against the Knicks and Bucks, followed by the the Celtics on Friday night. The two Atlantic Division opponents present the most winnable games, but a SEGABABA against a long Milwaukee team will be a challenge.

Marc Stein, from ESPN (Spurs rank: 5. Last week's rank: 4)

Let this marinate as news of Manu Ginobili's freshly twisted ankle sinks in: San Antonio has managed to trot out its preferred starting lineup of Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter for only 14 games all season. The Spurs are 11-3 in those games.

Drew Garrison, from SB Nation (Spurs rank: 8. Last week's rank: 8)

San Antonio is in its best groove since November and would be riding an eight-game winning streak if Kyrie Irving didn't turn into a volcano erupting with points. The Spurs and Hawks clashing on Sunday should make for a fascinating matchup between well-oiled machines.

Marc J. Spears, from Yahoo Sports (Spurs rank N/A. Last week's rank: 7)

Spurs guard Manu Ginobili is expected to be out a week to 10 days with an ankle injury that occurred in Sunday’s rout against Minnesota.

USA Today (Spurs rank: 8. Last week's rank: 8)

Danny Green, not Kawhi Leonard, will give them a difficult offseason decision on how much to pay.

John Schuhmann, from NBA.com (Spurs rank: 6. Last week's rank: 7)

The Spurs would have an eight-game winning streak if Kawhi Leonard made his free throws at the end of regulation on Thursday. They've scored a league-best 115 points per 100 possessions over the 7-1 stretch, but are about to be without Manu Ginobili, who turned his ankle in Sunday's win over the Wolves and hasn't missed consecutive games all season.

Matt Moore, from CBS Sports (Spurs rank: 4. Last week's rank 6)

It took 57 points from Kyrie Irving, 31 more from LeBron James, two missed free throws by Kawhi Leonard and a blown defensive assignment by the best defender on either team (Leonard) for the Cavs to beat San Antonio. That's how good the Spurs are.

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