John Hollinger, ESPN.com — 5th (2nd in West)
Mike Monroe, Spurs Nation — 3rd (1st in West)
No Jefferson, no Jackson, no Ginobili, no Splitter (2nd half) … no need; Friday win at OKC was grittiest of season.”
More gritty statistics: The Spurs outrebounded the Oklahoma City Thunder (49-37) and nearly doubled the Thunder in points in the paint (50-26). Unlike many Spurs victories, this victory was built on the fortitude of our starters and not our diverse bench. The Spurs starters accumulated 99 points of their 114 points (86.8 percent) and totaled 174 minutes of a possible 240 minutes. This was mostly because of the aforementioned injuries so keep that in mind. Still, the performance was a positive sign for the Spurs. The Thunder — despite their exceptionally crafted roster and talented core — are no longer unbeatable.
John Schumann, NBA.com — 4th (2nd in West)
The acquisition of Stephen Jackson is good for nostalgia and salary relief in 2013-14 (when the luxury tax increases), but we all realize that he’s shooting 36 percent this season, right? And he’s just 3-for-17 on corner threes, which was Richard Jefferson’s specialty. Maybe Gregg Popovich can turn back Jack’s clock.”
I have the utmost confidence in Pop’s ability to confine Stephen Jackson’s attitude and harness it for the greater good of the team. Jackson, too, seems incredibly at peace with his new team. I believe that he genuinely cares about winning and I expect him to be an important cog in the Spurs rotation down the stretch. I realize that he’s inefficient and (if he’s unhappy) a potential ticking time bomb. But Richard Jefferson was largely nonexistent during the most important stretches of the season (his gaudy averages of 2.5 points and 3.8 rebounds during the last four games of the Memphis series wasn’t cutting it). RJ was always the consummate professional, willing to completely retool his game and play fourth fiddle to Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. And I’ll always appreciate that aspect of RJ, the player. That doesn’t change the fact that I rather have the ultimate risk/reward of Stephen Jackson. His game is conducive to extreme pitfalls, yes, but ultimately his ability to create opportunities offensively and defensively makes the deal favorable in my opinion.
Chris Sheridan, Sheridan Hoops — 3rd (1st in West)
All in all, a helluva week despite that loss at Dallas. Rung up 122 points on Orlando, 114 on Oklahoma City, dumped Richard Jefferson (2-for-14 in Warriors debut) on Golden State. Tim Duncan (12,372) passed Paul Silas and Dikembe Mutombo on career rebounding list. He is now 18th, with Sir Charles (12,546) next on his list. Only team in NBA shooting above 40 percent on 3s.”
Agreed. It was a really fun week to be a Spurs fan. But now that we’ve had three consecutive days of basking in our glory, it’s time to look ahead. The Spurs didn’t have a dense schedule. Up until now. The next week will contain our first back-to-back on the schedule and will severely test our strength. Our next seven games will span 11 days (1.6 games/day) and include back-to-back road games in two consecutive nights. I’m a little worried for this stretch and holding onto the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference has become a lot tougher. The improved Lakers and Clippers won’t make it easy.
Marc Stein, ESPN.com — 3rd (1st in West)
One cautionary note amid all the justifiable excitement surrounding Parker’s brilliant season … and the deadline deal that turned a declining Richard Jefferson into a potentially born-again Stephen Jackson … and Friday night’s statement win at OKC: There’s still time, but Manu doesn’t quite look like Manu yet.”
Imagine what the Spurs will look like with a healthy Manu Ginobili? Prior to his injury (four game sample size), Manu was averaging 19.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 3.3 3-pointers and unsustainable percentages — .605 field goal percentage, .542 3-point percentage. This month he has steadily improved his conditioning and if we get 85% of December Manu that would definitely suffice. Anything more and I will be incredibly excited.
Composite ranking — 4th (1st in West)
Topics: ESPN.com, Gregg Popovich, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Manu Ginobili, NBA.com, Oklahoma City Thunder, Power Rankings, Richard Jefferson, San Antonio Spurs, Stephen Jackson, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker