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Spurs dismiss hot start as meaningless if they go cold now

Feb 18, 2011, 7:26 PM EDT

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers

Gregg Popovich admitted he holds his breath every time Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili step off a curb.

Things have gone about as well as the Spurs could hope for this season — including them having the same starting five for 55 of the 56 games. They have won 46 of those and looked every bit the title contender they have not been the past few years. Popovich admitted health has helped, especially when he looks at what the Celtics and other teams have had to go through.

“I keep thinking it has to balance out,” Popovich half joked.

Health is only part of it. Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan echoed the company line during interviews — the wins are nice, home court is nice, but they games that really matter are just starting.

Ginobili wouldn’t even commit that they are contenders.

“Too early to tell,” Ginobili said. “Usually in the year’s we’ve won, we’ve been great in March and April. That’s when we build out confidence and finish taking playoff shape. So far we’ve been the best in the beginning of the season, again, it’s not enough.”

Popovich called the Lakers the best in the West and said that the team needs to come out and play the second half of the season with the energy they did the first. Ginobili agreed the game is going to get more challenging.

“It is going to be hard, because we have a bulls-eye on the back now,” Ginobili said. “We are leading the NBA. Same with the Lakers or Celtics, everybody wants to beat you. They want to test themselves against the best in the league, so it’s going to be harder to maintain.

“But we don’t want had one of the great first half of the season. We want to complete it. We want to complete it, we want to win the championship.”

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