The defending champion San Antonio Spurs are certainly not where they expected to be halfway through the 2014-15 season: 27-16 record, 12-10 on the road and seventh in the extremely tough Western Conference. But the Spurs have played a lot better as of late: and honestly, things could have only gone up after their horrendous December — while going 8-10 last month, they lost to mediocre teams like the Lakers, Nets and Pelicans.

But it seemed the defending champs began January on the right foot, defeating the Capitals 101-92: and since then they have been 6-2. And as most have realized over the years, Gregg Popovich’s teams only get better as the season progresses: it also does not hurt that the group — whose scoring has certainly improved over January — has recently gotten their two best scorers, point guard Tony Parker and small forward Kawhi Leonard, back from injury — Leonard in particular is the leading scorer on the team, as he averages 15.4 PPG, 7.8 RPG and 2.6 APG.

Still, it is going to be a matter of whether or not Popovich’s team can stay healthy: in the past, he has done a great job resting his aging roster, making sure they will be fresh for the late season surge and playoffs. To be honest, even with the early poor play, it is hard to doubt the quiet mastermind on the bench: especially when the Spurs are still in the top ten in points allowed and nearly break the top ten in PPG.

In the end, like every year they are in no way flashy, but play fundamental basketball, which win them championships: five in the last 15 years — the only team as successful in this time frame is Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers. Perhaps those expecting the Spurs to dominate out of the gate were worried, yet as most know the NBA season is long and anything can happen over that time.

Personally, I am more worried about the stacked Western Conference. It is certainly the team’s biggest hindrance to repeating, however, barring the Dallas Mavericks, the Spurs are the most experienced post-season group in the top eight seeds. Either way, everyone needs to sit back and be as relaxed as Popovich: the day he becomes emotional is the day the Spurs are truly in trouble.

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