1 - The Spurs finally got a signature win. What's the biggest takeaway from the game against OKC?
Michael Erler: That OKC is not a threat to them or to the Warriors. It used to be that they were the worst match-up for the Spurs, but now the opposite is true. Kawhi and Danny give their two guys a lot of problems and the Thunder just don't have enough shooting to hang versus the big boys or enough defensive discipline. Serge Ibaka isn't the same guy anymore. They're more pretenders than contenders and I'd be pretty shocked if the Spurs lost to them should that match-up come to fruition.
Brunos Passos: Keep letting it fly! The Spurs' defense held its own against two of the league's best while the offense had plenty of great looks from deep that just weren't falling. Pop's confidence in the unit he had out there (including rolling with West over Duncan in the end) will be worth keeping an eye out for in the next meeting.
Chris Itz: What stood out to me was the team's overall defense, LaMarcus showing up against a good team and Kawhi continuing to prove that he's great. I'm still anxious to see LaMarcus in the playoffs but the Spurs defense and Kawhi Leonard are outstanding.
Jesus Gomez: Kawhi Leonard is the guy. He's a star. He gets it done. We sort of knew that but a poor end of the series against the Clippers last playoffs and a bad showing against the Warriors this year let some doubt creep in. That fourth quarter against the Thunder reaffirmed his status as the new closer in my eyes.
J.R. Wilco: That OKC isn't even close to being San Antonio's main concern this year. The Spurs can for sure handle Westbrook or Durant with the game on the line, and maybe both of them. If they meet in the playoffs, it would likely be a five game series.
2 - Boris Diaw is not playing much or well. What's wrong with Bobo and can he snap out of it?
Erler: Just the typical Bobo hibernation for two-to-three months per season. I thought it'd come in the first half but instead it's come in the second. West has been solid and Aldridge has really come on, so it's not a big deal. Plus the Spurs are breaking out small-ball here and there. I still expect Bobo to wake up and leapfrog back ahead of West in the rotation by April or so.
Passos: Leonard and Aldridge have been getting a lot of minutes in recent close games; David West is earning a few more; Timmy is going to get his, and Kyle Anderson is seeing the floor plenty as well. There just aren't that many front court minutes to go around every game. I don't know if there's much more to it.
Itz: I'm not worried about Bobo. He'll be back to his slow spin moves, cream shakes and wraparound dimes in no time. He's our new Horry.
Gomez: It's probably as simple as him going into hibernation mode. The timing, however, is curious and has me worried. He's supposed to be starting to come out of his slumber, not going deeper into it. I think there are just enough games left for him to snap out of it and I think the Spurs will need him to. I love David West but without Diaw playing more than him in the postseason, I don't see San Antonio having a shot at the Warriors.
Wilco: There's nothing wrong with Bobo that a little postseason ball won't cure. When you're as interesting as Diaw, you can't be expected to stay interested in the least interesting time of the NBA season. So drink that espresso, Boris. Take it easy, and be ready once every game is televised nationally.
3 - Will Kevin Martin get Kyle Anderson's minutes or will Slowmo hold on to his rotation spot?
Erler: I think Pop will give Martin a look but will quickly grow disenchanted with him. Anderson will probably get 10th man spot minutes but really if Bobo and Green are playing decently at all, it might be a 9-man rotation when it matters. Plus there's Andre Miller, who could slide in there and bump Mills to the two and Ginobili to the three.
Passos: It'll be matchup-dependent, but I'm not sure their roles overlap much in Pop's eyes. You can play Anderson alongside Manu and Patty and sacrifice a lot less defensively than I think you would with Martin in there. I think we'll continue to see Kyle - at least in the regular season.
Itz: I think Pop will give both of them good looks over the next month, but I don't think that either will have a regular rotation role when the real season starts. it'll be matchup-dependent or Pop looking to them for a spark from the deep bench when the rest of the team is struggling.
Gomez: I was sure he was going to but Anderson has been playing well enough to at least delay it. I have a feeling these playoffs aren't for Kyle, as Pop would say, but it would be great if he continued to play well enough to get time in the regular season. If the shooters continue to struggle, however, giving Martin some minutes to see if he has it going from outside seems like something the Spurs should explore.
Wilco: My guess is that Martin is a guy who will sit on the bench until Pop slides him into the game with instructions to shoot the lights out. Then after a couple of minutes, he'll sit again. If he's a significant part of the postseason rotation, I'd be extremely surprised.
4 - The Spurs play the Warriors three times, the Thunder twice and the Clippers and Raptors once each. Now that they've beaten L.A., what will their record be against the elite on those seven games?
Erler: Would 5-2 be too simplistic since that's the home/road breakdown of those games? I'll give the Spurs a meaningless loss in the last home game vs. the Warriors because they won't care by then and say 4-3. I think they're gonna go 5-0 in this homestand though.
Passos: 4-3, with two of the losses being against Golden State.
Itz: 5-2, dropping one each to the Thunder and Warriors.
Gomez: 3-4, with two losses to the Warriors and two to the Thunder. I think rest will be the biggest concern for Pop unless the Warriors stumble a couple of times and the first seed is really in play.
Wilco: I'm not afraid of the Warriors taking all three of their games, which would make it 4-3.
5 - How excited are you for March Madness? Are you filling out a bracket?
Erler: Pop gets more excited for sideline interviews than I am for March Madness. I don't think I've watched a second of college basketball all season and may not during the tournament. My Aztecs aren't even in it, which seems outrageous.
Passos: No bracket probably, but I went to North Carolina and they've got a shot to go far this year. I'll watch it until they lose, shake my fist at Roy Williams' coaching, then prepare to do the same thing next year.
Itz: I watched one possession of a Duke game last tournament and it went like this: guy dribbles slowly over halfcourt, he passes it to another guy who dribbles aimlessly for 7 seconds, then that second player passes it to another guy who dribbles aimlessly for 7 seconds, then the third player passes it to another guy who dribbles until the 35 second shot clock is down to 4, then he attacks and jacks up a contested 18 footer that misses badly. I probably won't watch this year.
Gomez: I used to not pay any type of attention to college hoops but because of work, I've been watching more of it in the past couple of years. The long shot clock still makes me want to kill myself at times but I find the fun in the game more often than not. For example, Fresno State edging out San Diego State in the Mountain West final (sorry, Michael) was entertaining in its flawed way. So I'll be watching. No bracket, though.
Wilco: I like to see sports played at the highest level. After watching the best athletes in the world play each other, it's hard for me to watch the U22 squads go at it (more like U20, really). I usually watch some of the Final Four and the championship game, but i don't do a bracket unless it's as a joke.