COMMENTARY | Right now it's difficult to ignore the buzz that's surrounding the Indiana Pacers (10-1). They have gotten off to the best start in team history, put Larry "Legend" back in the front office, and have the NBA's newest superstar in Paul George.
Meanwhile, the buzz that surrounds the San Antonio Spurs (10-1) -- tied with the Pacers for the best record in the NBA -- is not quite the same.
It's much quieter.
You won't find a table of talking heads discussing the Spurs' success on any major sports network, no one is creating .gifs of Tony Parker and posting them online, and not too many people outside of Texas are going out of their way to watch them on League Pass. So what's the difference?
The difference is expectations. For San Antonio -- a franchise that has made the playoffs every year since the 1997-98 season -- this is just business as usual. And, right now, it's nothing to celebrate. Not for a team that was one win away from winning it all last year.
Not just yet.
So far, the Spurs have only two wins over opponents with over-.500 records. One came in the first game of the year against the Memphis Grizzlies (7-5), while the other came in a two-point victory at home against the Golden State Warriors (8-4), who played without Stephen Curry.
The single tally in the loss column came at the hands of a hot Portland Trail Blazers (10-2) team -- a team that is turning heads and raising eyebrows.
What the win-loss record has taught us so far is that San Antonio will continue to beat the teams it is supposed to beat. There won't be too many nights where a Gregg Popovich team will give up a home loss to a sub-.500 squad, and with the way the East is shaking up, many more out-of-conference wins can be expected.
What we have yet to see is how they perform regularly against quality opponents. They will be tested Friday when they travel to Memphis, but will have a real benchmark against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Nov. 27, followed by a back-to-back with a scrappy Orlando Magic squad and the in-state rival Houston Rockets.
But what this is all leading up to is whether the Spurs can achieve a goal that they were one Ray Allen miss away from achieving in the Finals.
Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobli don't have long until their jerseys are retired and they walk off the court forever. Can this veteran squad win one more ring before it leaves the franchise in the hands of Kahwi Leonard and Danny Green?
That question is the dark shadow that looms over any stellar win-loss record San Antonio puts next to its name throughout the season. This team is tired of finishing atop the West without adding a championship ring to its collection. These expectations are what makes this franchise different from any other.
So while Indiana flaunts its "We're next!" mantra, Miami strives for the three-peat, and Houston turns into the drama that's catching no one by surprise, a San Antonio Spurs team continues to quietly win, whispering "We're still here."
Stephen Shepperd is a hardcore Spurs follower and overall NBA enthusiast. He loves writing about the NBA and spends way too much time on his fantasy basketball teams.
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