No, this isn’t about Tim Duncan’s injury. Even without him, I expect that the Spurs will have enough firepower to hold off the Lakers for the #1 seed in the Western Conference.
But remember all those stories about how these weren’t the old San Antonio Spurs. They played fast and didn’t win with defense? Some of that was true early in the season when the Spurs ran an offense straight out of the Seven Seconds or Less playbook, but 82 games, or well, 70 games has a way of telling greater truths than 25. The Spurs still have a top 3 offense, which shouldn’t be THAT surprising as they had a top ten offense last season too. But their defense is now 7th in Defensive Rating (points allowed per 100 possessions), a slight IMPROVEMENT over last season when they were eighth (though without Duncan that number could slip a little in the final few games). Also those early season stories about the fast paced Spurs no longer apply. The Spurs are 14th in possessions per game, which since they were top five early in the season, it means that they have really taken the air out of the ball lately. Maybe it’s a ploy and they’ll pump it back up for the playoffs, but one way or another the Spurs current statistical profile doesn’t vary substantially from the Spurs of the last five years or so.