Updated: March 1, 2012, 9:16 AM ET

1. Spurs Stuck In Same Old Spin Cycle?

By Jesse Blanchard
TrueHoop Network

Even in their championship heyday, the San Antonio Spurs were no strangers to fits of individual brilliance from opposing players.

Memories of Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire running roughshod over the Spurs' defense for gaudy individual statistics through entire playoff series come to mind during Spurs championships runs.

So while hearing M-V-P chants for Derrick Rose coming from the San Antonio crowd may have been a little disconcerting, his 29-point performance was hardly surprising. Nor was it unaccounted for.

"We know we're not going to stop him, but we're going to try to make him work," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said before San Antonio's 96-89 loss to the Bulls at AT&T Center. "And we'll see if we can make him work hard to get the ball to other people."

There is no shame in Rose getting his points against your defense. As factions of the crowd pointed out, he is the reigning MVP. The difference lies in other traditional hallmarks of the Spurs' defense and how it has fallen off.

The two main principles of the Spurs' defense are to stop shots at the rim and from behind the 3-point line. During Tim Duncan's prime, paired with other 7-footers, the Spurs required far fewer resources to prevent the first type of shots. Without this luxury now, they've had to compensate by yielding more of the latter.

With DeJuan Blair and Matt Bonner comprising half of a four-man frontline rotation, the Spurs are giving up higher shooting percentages at the rim. The defense compensates for this by allowing fewer shots at the rim than most other teams, mostly by rotating extra defenders over.

This is where a 29-point performance for Rose proves more damaging in the past. The Spurs made Rose work, but they required more resources at the rim to do so. And with each extra defender, they left a crack in the defense.

Rose had his brilliant performance, but the Spurs were also outrebounded. Especially in the first half. And when the Spurs adjusted to that, it left Luol Deng open behind the 3-point line for the sort of key 3-pointers the Spurs never used to allow.

While rumors of their demise were greatly exaggerated after last season's loss to Memphis in the first round last year, a major question still exists: Are the Spurs a team built primarily for the regular season?

Jesse Blanchard covers the Spurs for 48 Minutes of Hell, part of the TrueHoop Network.

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