Spurs soaring in weekly rankings check

It’s funny how much national attention an eight-game winning streak can provide.

We’re seeing that in the comments about the Spurs in our weekly survey of the pundits who rank the NBA teams each week.

Here are their rankings about the surging Spurs this week. 

John Schuhmann,

Ranking: Fifth

Last week: Seventh

Teams ahead: Miami, Chicago,  Oklahoma City, L.A. Clippers.

What he said: San Antonio has won (eight) straight, the rodeo trip is off to a great start (including wins in Memphis and Philly) and Manu Ginobili is back. It may be time to include the Spurs among the Western Conference contenders again, especially considering their defense has been much improved during the streak.”

Marc Stein,

Ranking: Second

Last week: Fifth

Teams ahead: Miami.

What he said: “The annual Rodeo Road Trip is generally good to the Spurs, but this one looks like it’ll go down as an all-timer. The Spurs figure to be 5-0 before their next tough test Feb. 18 in Clipperland, Duncan has five straight double-doubles after just five in his first 23 games … and Manu just came back!”

John Hollinger,

Ranking: Fifth

Last week: Fifth.

Teams ahead: Chicago, Miami, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia.

Current seed: Second in Western Conference.

Chances of winning: Hollinger estimates the Spurs have a , a 79.2 percent chance of winning the Southwest Division, a 26.6 percent chance of earning the No. 1 seed in the West before the playoffs, a 25 percent chance of making the NBA Finals and a 9.5 percent chance of winning the NBA title.

Britt Robson,

Ranking: Fourth

Last week: Seventh

Teams in front: Miami, Chicago, Oklahoma City.

What he said: “There seems to be nothing but good news for the surging Spurs. They started (4-0) on their nine-game road trip, saw Tony Parker selected to the All-Star team and welcomed back Manu Ginobili for limited action on Saturday after he’d missed 22 games with a broken hand. Perhaps best of all, they have firmed up their defense, allowing less than the league-average field-goal percentage to seven of their last 10 opponents since New Orleans burned them for plus-50 percent shooting in all four quarters on Jan. 23. San Antonio is now a respectable 14th in defensive efficiency, after an opening month when it allowed more than 100 points eight times. By contrast, the only triple-digit point total against the Spurs in the last 10 games was the 101-100 loss to Dallas when Gregg Popovich played his bench the entire fourth quarter and overtime. Nine players averaged at least 20 minutes during that span — and now Ginobili’s back.

Kurt Helin,

Ranking: Fifth

Last week: Seventh

Teams ahead: Miami, Miami, Chicago, L.A. Clippers, Oklahoma City.

What he said: “Winners of eight in a row (including in Philly) and they get Manu Ginobili back on their Rodeo Road Trip. They are looking like a team that can make a run in the playoffs, but they looked like that last year so we’re hesitant.”

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