1 - The Spurs are just 1.5 games back from the Warriors and will play them next week. Is the No. 1 seed a possibility?
Michael Erler: I wouldn't put it higher than 15 percent, honestly, and only that high because Stephen Curry or Draymond Green might suffer an injury that knocks them out for 10-15 games. The Spurs schedule is just too difficult the last 40 games and Pop will be too tempted to rest guys for it to be a realistic pursuit. Besides, I cheated by answering this after the Warriors-Cavs game. Good heavens.
Bruno Passos: The one seed would be big, not only for home court against Golden State but to be able to avoid what would likely be a matchup against OKC in the second round. But it might take a record-breaking season to do it. Plus that final month of the schedule is a doozie. But anything is possible!
Jesus Gomez: It really depends on the Warriors. They have been playing uninspiring basketball the past few weeks, before dismantling the Cavaliers. If they decide to keep cruising during the regular season only to flip the switch in the playoffs, then the Spurs could steal the first seed from them.
Chris Itz: Of course it is! The Spurs' schedule has been the easiest in the league by basketball-reference's method (0 is league average) at -1.42, but GSW's in second at -1.36. Both the Warriors and Spurs have pretty similar schedules remaining, both play Chicago, OKC 3 times, Memphis 2 times and the Clippers 2 times. Then there are the four head-to-head matchups between the teams. The Spurs have won 8 of the last 9 vs. the Warriors and the schedule makers did the Spurs a favor -- both games at the AT&T Center have the Warriors on a SEGABABA while the Spurs will be fresh, while both games at Oracle have both teams coming off rest. I'd bet on a close finish, with April 7th and 10th deciding the 1-seed.
J.R. Wilco: It's absolutely a possibility. The Spurs are just down two games in the loss column, and they play the Warriors four times. Win them all and keep pace in their games against the rest of the league, and they'll have it. Now, it won't be easy -- not by a long shot -- might not even be probable. But it is possible.
2 - LaMarcus Aldridge is finally playing like a star. Where you ever worried about his slow start?
Erler: I was worried about his fit alongside Tim Duncan more so than him in a vacuum. I still don't think his game is terribly efficient and that there is a ceiling offensively with him, Duncan and Tony Parker on the floor together. Aldridge is a better post-up player and defender than I gave him credit for being before he joined the Spurs, but overall I'm pretty lukewarm on him. I think he's already lost some athleticism from his peak years in Portland and I'm kind of concerned about how he runs and his lack of explosiveness. Let's just say I don't see him aging as gracefully as Duncan. Fortunately the Spurs won't need him to be their alpha-dog, they've got Kawhi Leonard for that.
Passos: Call it Richard Jefferson Syndrome, but there were some early concerns. The way he's let the game come to him while playing a key role on a top defense is a testament to the guy's talent and professionalism.
Gomez: I definitely was worried but not about his ability. I thought he would not be happy waiting for shots and scoring 15 a game. I still sort of believe that, but the Spurs have found ways to get him more touches and he's making the most of them. Now it looks like he's the perfect fit next to Leonard.
Itz: For the first month or so I was concerned that not being the best player on the team was going to bother him and that maybe his personality was a poor fit, but he's been fully assimilated into Pop's cult. Now that he's comfortable, we're seeing his game round into form.
Wilco: I had decided to give him until after the Rodeo Road Trip before I allowed myself to even evaluate his performance seriously. So I did well there. But I had thought he'd come out firing on offense and struggle to step up on defense. Not so good there. All in all, he's exceeded my expectations, and he's still getting better.
3 - It looks like the Spurs won't have any All-Star starters (thanks, Kobe!). Other than Leonard, who else do you thing will be voted in by coaches, if anyone?
Erler: The way Adam Silver has done things, I'd be kind of surprised if Duncan isn't put on the team because, like Bryant, he's one of the handful of best players to ever play, and while he hasn't publicly declared that this will be his final season the way Bryant has, the signs sure seem to be pointing in that direction.
Passos: From a precedence point of view, it'd be pretty nuts for a team this good to only have one guy come off the bench. If I had to put my money on one it'd be LaMarcus, because I think Timmy and Dirk might split the geriatric vote (not that both aren't deserving in their own right).
Gomez: Bold prediction: no other Spur makes it. By numbers and team record Aldridge should make it but there's a lot of competition. I think it's between Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin, Klay Thompson and LaMarcus for two spots and he might lose that battle.
Itz: Tim Duncan is the anchor of the league's best defense, has the best defensive rating in the league, and deserves a nod. Tony Parker is 8th in win shares/48, 18th in win shares and has been great all season. He also deserves a nod. Manu Ginobili leads the best second unit in basketball. LaMarcus is putting up really solid numbers as well. I have no idea who gets in but someone will.
Wilco: Probably Tim Duncan and maybe LaMarcus Aldridge. Possibly no one but Kawhi. Excuse me for not being upset. Less Spurs All Stars equals more rest.
4 - We all love Boban Marjanovic, who is getting some minutes now. Is he someone who could help in the playoffs?
Erler: I'm kind of intrigued about what he could do in a match-up with Enes Kanter against OKC, but outside of that I can't see a spot for him. Just stop it now, Pounders, Pop is not going to be posting him up against Draymond Green. That's defensive suicide the other way.
Passos: When the rotations tighten up and with four bigs in front of him, playing Boban would seemingly have to be very matchup-dependent. I'm not sure I see it happening -- maybe a few relief minutes against Dwight Howard or Timofey Mozgov, or a Jeremy Evans rematch?
Gomez: I really don't see it unless someone gets hurt. The fact that he's giving the team some quality minutes in the regular season is a little surprising, to be honest. But who knows? Maybe he can be of use at some point. He's certainly impressed to far.
Itz: I don't see it, but like Bruno and Erler said, perhaps there's a matchup for him.
Wilco: He could absolutely help ... by giving all the rotation bigs rest in any blowouts. I love his production in the minutes we've seen from him, but I don't think he's ready to play important minutes against elite competition. The rest of the bigs are just playing too well for Pop to take a chance with him. Maybe next year.
5 - Give me one positive takeaway from the win against the Cavaliers and one negative takeaway.
Erler: I'll do you one better and give you two of each. The positives: They came back from 15 down and Parker looked fantastic. The negatives: They struggled to barely beat a team the Warriors trounced on the road and again Aldridge was a non-factor against elite competition.
Passos: One positive: the Cavs relied on a strong showing from tough-shot maker J.R. Smith to stay close against San Antonio's stingy D. One negative: the Golden State Warriors have two of those.
Gomez: One negative: Tristan Thompson proved that athletic centers could be a problem. One positive: The game left no doubt that Tony Parker is playing some of the best defense of his career.
Itz: Positive: Won pretty comfortably after trailing by 15. Negative: trailing by 15.
Wilco: Positive: We saw that Kawhi's elite defense can make even LeBron "King" James take himself out of plays in order to keep Leonard away from the ball. Negative: That first quarter was pretty ugly.