Gregg Popovich isn't one to rest on his laurels. Even just one laurel, tucked carefully between his mattress and memory foam, would likely cause such discomfort as to keep him up for hours on end. And then you'd have a sleep-deprived Pop on your hands the next morning, complaining about the pulp in his orange juice and saying 'You call these eggs?' So just don't try it.
The Spurs coach's feelings on resting his players are another story, especially this time of year and even standing in the face (and in the way) of history. And after Golden State's loss to Boston last weekend, the intrigue around how the two teams finish the regular season is seemingly getting as much attention as what will happen if they meet in the postseason.
There are still six games to go -- two against the Warriors -- and we'll soon be shifting focus to the playoffs. Here's a cursory glimpse of the year's benchmarks (but please chime in with any I've missed):
- Only seven teams have won more than 67 wins on the season. The Spurs (along with the Warriors) are on pace to finish somewhere among the 8 best regular-season teams of all time
- San Antonio's league-leading point differential (+11.6) will likely be top-3 all time, behind only the Lakers and Bucks of the early 70s
- San Antonio's 39-0 at home, marking the best home start to a season and is two games away from the only perfect home record
- The Spurs secured an all-time winning record against all other 29 teams in the league and are the only franchise to have that claim
- The team's done this after undergoing its most significant roster turnover in the Pop-Duncan era
- The Spurs sent two players to the All-Star Game, LaMarcus Aldridge (his first as a Spur) and Kawhi Leonard (his first ever, voted in as a starter)
- Leonard scored a career-high 33 points (which still seems low for him)
- Leonard will finish in the top three in 3PT field-goal percentage (.457) and is still within reach of a 50-40-90 season (.887 from the line)
- Tim Duncan leads the league in defensive box score plus-minus
- Duncan moved to 6th place all time in career rebounds, 14th all time in points, 5th all time in blocks and 9th all time in games played (he needs four more to move to 7th)
- Tony Parker moved to 27th all time in career assists (Andre Miller is 8th, BTW)
- Tim, Tony and Manu became the winningiest trio in NBA history
The Spurs have a three-game road trip this week (at Utah, Golden State and Denver), which will almost certainly include some rest games for the team's key players, followed by a Sunday matchup at home against the Warriors again. Regardless of what records hold up over the next seven days, it should be another fun week to be a Spurs fan.
Marc Stein, ESPN (Spurs rank: 2, Last week's rank: 2)
Greatest No. 2 in the history of these rankings? The case can surely be made when you realize that the Spurs, amid all of their resting, have won a franchise-record 64 games and are a ridiculous 39-0 at home. The 72-win Chicago Bulls of 1995-96, in case you've forgotten, started out 37-0 at home that season before losing twice in Chicago in April even as they were amassing the most successful season in league history.
Matt More, CBS Sports (Spurs rank: 2, Last week's rank: 2)
Gregg Popovich's curmudgeonly, "I don't care about anything but titles" approach is going to face a real quandary if the Warriors are putting win No. 73 up against the Spurs' undefeated home season. Just how little does Pop care about basketball history?
Jeremy Woo, Sports Illustrated (Spurs rank: 2, Last week's rank: 2)
All eyes will be on the Spurs and Warriors as they go head to head twice this week, and rightfully so. In any other year, we'd be fawning over these guys a little harder. But, as usual, the odds are this team couldn't care less: their priority remains avoiding last season's first-round playoff slip-up.
USA Today (Spurs rank: 2, Last week's rank: 2)
Set its franchise record with its 64th win of the season over Toronto on Saturday.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com (Spurs rank: 2, Last week's rank: 2)
The Spurs took care of business against three shorthanded opponents last week, with help from LaMarcus Aldridge, who has scored more than 30 points in three of his last four games and has seen an increase in both scoring average and true shooting percentage every month. Kawhi Leonard is back from his quad injury, giving Gregg Popovich a full rotation to possibly rest against the champs this week.
David Aldridge, NBA.com (Spurs rank: N/A, Last week's rank: 2)
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