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Jerry Sullivan's Power Take: Guess who's an NBA title contender? (yet again)

We're past the midpoint of the NBA season, that time of year when I point out that San Antonio is alive and well and a serious title contender.

Writing off the Spurs has become an annual ritual, made easier this year by Tim Duncan's retirement. But after winning at the Raptors on Tuesday, they're 36-9, only two back of the Warriors for the league's best record.

The win was the Spurs' third on the road in four days, starting with an OT win in Cleveland. It gave them a 20-4 away record, making them the eighth team in history to win 20 of its first 24 on the road. They beat the East's second-best team without Pau Gasol, Tony Parker or Kawhi Leonard.

The Spurs are a smart, unselfish team, a reflection of their coach, Gregg Popovich. They're second in the NBA in field-goal percentage, first in three-point and free throw percentage, fifth in assists, fourth in blocks, second in points allowed.

The bench shot 20 for 39 and scored 53 points in Toronto. Nine guys average at least six points. No one averages 34 minutes a night.

Popovich, who turns 68 on Saturday, has 1,125 career wins, seventh on the career list. He has coached 19 full seasons, finishing first or second in the division and reaching the playoffs in all of them. He has five NBA titles.

The Spurs aren't expected to win a sixth this year, but don't rule them out. They did beat the Warriors by 29 on opening night.

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