We're more than halfway into the season and in some ways it feels like Act 2 is just about to commence. It's a sentiment that has something to do with the Spurs' steady dominance and everything to do with tonight's long-awaited matchup against Golden State, whose historically amazing regular season has been analogous with San Antonio's through 44 games.
Tonight of course won't answer most of our questions, even if Tim Duncan were suiting up. But it takes the conversation of who will emerge from the Western Conference bracket into a more practical arena than before, and it's understandable that it receive a bit more hype than your average NBA TV broadcast.
And since there's plenty of time until tonight's late tipoff, here are a few links to further whet your appetite:
- Sports Illustrated's Jeremy Woo shares 25 reasons to watch Spurs-Warriors.
- SBNation's Yaron Weitzman calls the matchup the best regular season game ever.
- ESPN's Ethan Sherwood Strauss and Michael C. Wright deliberate each team's weaknesses.
- Steve Kerr says Tim Duncan, whose knee is keeping him out of tonight's game, is 57 years old.
- Matt Moore of CBS Sports looked at the chess match between the two teams. (It's not just the Spurs who have things to figure out.)
- The Economist wrote about the Spurs -- a good read if you like numbers and a great one if you like seeing how they back San Antonio's chances this year.
Marc Stein, ESPN (Spurs rank: 2, Last week's rank: 2)
What a different 295 days make. That's how much time has elapsed since the Spurs and Warriors last met in the unforgettable Kawhi Game back on April 5, 2015. Kawhi Leonard scored what was then a career-high 26 points to go with seven game-changing steals in that one. This season? Kawhi just became the Spurs' first All-Star starter not named Duncan since David Robinson in 1993.
USA Today (Spurs rank: 2, Last week's rank: 2)
These guys are as good as anyone in the one big game
John Schuhmann, NBA.com (Spurs rank: 1, Last week's rank: 1)
In case you forgot, the Spurs were the only team that had a winning record (2-1) against the Warriors last season, with the league's best offense (108.9 points scored per 100 possessions) against what was the No. 1 defense. Not only have these Spurs won 13 straight games, but it's been 32 games since they lost by more than 4 points. The Warriors are just one of three top-10 offenses they're facing this week.
David Aldridge, NBA.com (Spurs rank: 1, Last week's rank: 1)
Since their last loss, on Christmas night in Houston, the Spurs have won 13 straight by an average margin of 18 points. Tim Duncan hasn't played in four of the games, with Tony Parker sitting for three and LaMarcus Aldridge for two. And only once has a Spurs player played more than 40 minutes (Kawhi Leonard, against LeBron and the Cavaliers).
Matt Moore, (CBS Sports) Spurs rank: 2, Last week's rank: 1)
San Antonio is incredible for a lot of reasons, one of which is you never see guys on the floor who feel like a liability. There is no Richard Jefferson or Kyle Singler, or even Dion Waiters. All of their guys, core or otherwise, consistently help their cause in some meaningful way, and it all adds up to a team that just keeps doing its thing. Seriously, Patty Mills and some dude named Boban are major contributors.
Jeremy Woo, Sports Illustrated (Spurs rank: 1, Last week's rank: 1)
The Spurs can make it 14 uninterrupted victories with a win over the Warriors Monday night, as the sides meet for the first time halfway into historically dominant campaigns. Buckle up.