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Power Rankings: Spurs using time this season to their advantage

by | CBSSports.com Senior NBA Blogger

The Spurs' top scorers, Parker, Duncan and Ginobili, are averaging just 28.8 minutes per game. (Getty Images)  
The Spurs' top scorers, Parker, Duncan and Ginobili, are averaging just 28.8 minutes per game. (Getty Images)  

Updated April 3

I've described this season frequently as "the season without reason." The lockout screwed everything up. Teams didn't have long enough training camps to get any rhythm or cohesion. Guys came in out of shape. The schedule walloped players about a month in and really dragged the stats down. Injuries have been out of control, coaches have been fired and every losing streak is exacerbated because you're playing so many games in such a short span.

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So we thought things would look bonkers at the end of the year.

Instead? Look what we've got.

The Thunder are at the top, riding high on their momentum. Reigning MVP Derrick Rose is out, but you can bet the Bulls will be right back at the top when he returns. A team with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade is near the top, but consistently disappointing.

Then look what else is there.

The San Antonio Spurs have been a force in this league for 13 years, a constant championship contender. This was supposed to be the year the Spurs weren't for real, that they would fade gently back. Instead, this team looks significantly better than any Spurs team since 2005, including their 2007 championship team. The Spurs' long-term success is either a reinforcement of the idea that good management will always keep you competitive or proof that you absolutely must get a once-in-a-lifetime player if you want to contend consistently.

The Spurs aren't a defensive juggernaut, but they get the job done. And the offense is out of this world. They have the best chance of any team to stop Oklahoma City.

Meanwhile, guess who else decided to show up. The Celtics jump seven spots this week in the rankings and are back to their old unstoppable ways. It remains to be seen if they timed their peak right, but credit needs to go to everyone in that organization for sticking together and weathering the storm.

And idling in melodrama as always, but still one of the fiercest teams in the land, are the Lakers. Where they always are, near the top.

This may be the season without reason, but cold, hard logic continues to dominate discussions about the 2012 NBA Championship.


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