Season 51, Game 22
San Antonio 95, Memphis 79
15-7, 3rd in the West

Something remarkable is happening this season.

Despite the fact they’re still without their best player, and their veteran point guard missed the first 19 games, the Spurs are third in the Western Conference and only 1.5 and 2.5 games behind the Warriors and Rockets, respectively.

Put another way, the Spurs are winning games, and remain in the thick of the early playoff chase, even though they’re only playing at half strength.

How impressive is that?

We all know that Coach Pop is a master at getting the most out of the talent he has at his disposal. This season Pop’s mastery has been on full display.

Kyle Anderson was considered too slow for the NBA, and dismissed by some of my colleagues here at And yet here he is, after 22 games, second in total minutes played, third in rebounds, third in assists, and first in steals.

Danny Green was waived twice, first by the Cavaliers and then by the Spurs, and played in only 28 games in his first two seasons in the NBA. Now he is one of the best ‘3-and-D’ guys in the league. Better yet, he’s still developing his game, adding some good off-the-dribble play to his repertoire this year. Danny had a rough shooting night, going 0-for-7, but he was still +13 on the court with 5 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 assists.

Patty Mills continues to impress. He’s averaging more assists, and taking more three pointers, this season than in any other.

Rudy Gay was all but forgotten after playing the last three and a half seasons in Sacramento and then tearing his Achilles’ tendon last January. With San Antonio, he’s shooting a career best 47.2% FG percentage. Tonight he was the Spurs’ second leading scorer with 18, including 3-of-5 from long distance.

Can you believe Manu Ginobili is 40 years old? Tonight he had 11 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and one steal. That’s a stat line any player half his age would love to have. Amazing.

And I haven’t mentioned LaMarcus Aldridge, who looks every bit the All Star he was in Portland and we had hoped he would be for San Antonio. LMA led all scorers tonight with 22.

If all this weren’t reason enough to celebrate, the beautiful game is back, too.

In the preseason, Jake tried to convince me that this Spurs team could be the most talented we’ve ever seen. I scoffed then, but I’m starting to believe now.

And I can’t wait to see how good this team gets when Kawhi is back and Tony is playing at a higher level.

Go Spurs Go.

Round the Horn: