- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 25, 2012

As this lockout-condensed NBA season winds down, with its rat-a-tat schedule and heightened sense of urgency, look who’s sitting on top in the West.

That Over-The-Hill Gang in San Antonio.

No, it’s not Kevin Durant and those young gunners from Oklahoma City.

Nor Kobe Bryant and that perennial Lakers powerhouse.

Not even the new power couple in Los Angeles, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.

Yep, the Spurs _ who just keep chugging along no matter how much the hairlines recede (Manu Ginobili, meet George Costanza) and the years keep falling off the calendar.

They tend to get lost, way down in the heart of Texas, but it’s time _ past time, actually _ for everyone to recognize this franchise for what it is: one of the greatest dynasties in not just the NBA, but all of sports.

The Spurs never seem to get top billing on the marquee, and this year is no different. While everyone keeps oohing and aahing over Miami’s Big Three and Chicago’s MVP and Oklahoma City’s staggering array of 20-something talent, the Spurs simply do what they always do.

Win, win, win.

And, when the regular season is done, they’ll be the team sitting atop the standings.

Again.

“They’ve been hanging banners for a reason,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro _ a former Spur himself _ marveled Tuesday night. “Everyone falls into place with the culture and history they have there.”

Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Co. have put together another sterling record _ this will be their 15th season with a winning percentage of at least .610 _ and wrapped up the top seed in the Western Conference with a couple of games to spare.

Sorry, LeBron James and Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant, all of you championship worthy, but the perfect capper to this imperfect of seasons would be San Antonio celebrating its fifth NBA title.

They deserve it.

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