Can the Spurs Win the Southwest?


Hollinger's playoff odds put us at about 18% to win the division after Dallas's loss to Portland last night. That seems really big to me so I thought I'd go more in depth into this as it is our best chance of home court advantage in the first round. Our only competition is the Mavericks. For game by game comparison, jump....

The Situation

To start, I think it will be near impossible to pass their standing. To tie them and not lose in the head to head tiebreak, we have to win the last game of the season at Dallas. Assuming we win that game, our record is 43-28 with 11 other games to play compared to Dallas's 47-26 with 9 other games to play. Dallas must lose 2 more games than us.

We own the division tiebreak if we win against Houston or Memphis in San Antonio. Dallas loses the tiebreak if they lose at Memphis or to Memphis. If we lose both and they win both, we will finish tied. We are likely to win the conference tie break.

To even get to this point, Dallas would have to lose at least 2 other games. Even if only 1 of them is their Orlando game, we will have a 2 game lead on them in the conference tiebreaker. Losing to the East is preferred to losing to the West for the Spurs. Remember that if we lose either of our next two or the Orlando game.

Spurs' Remaining Games

26 - CLE: Tough game, but I have two secret mojo weapons for this game. Plus, we gave them that last win.

28 - @ BOS: Boston has been playing good all March. This is going to be a tough one.

29 - @ NJ: Win. Easiest SEGABABA we could ask for.

31 - HOU: Injured right now and a SEGABABA for them and we've been embarrassed by them. Must win.

2 - ORL: Hopefully they will have beaten Dallas the night before and will come in tired in this SEGABABA.

4 - @ LAL: This game will be some much needed vindication for our shooters and Timmy.

6 - @ SAC: Win.

7 - @ PHX: Could be a huge game to pass PHX in the standings. Suns will be on 3 days of rest following a 5 game road trip.

9 - MEM: Must win game. One of our final home games.

10 - @ DEN : Parker returns to give us a well rested boost on the FOGFINI.

12 - MIN : Win.

Conservative Prediction

Let's say we win @ NJ, HOU, ORL, SAC, MEM, and MIN. Let's throw in DEN too if Parker is really returning that game and K-Mart's injuries. So that is 7 wins. So we are at 50-28 with CLE, @ BOS, @ LAL, and @ PHX. Let's say we drop all 4. If we win any of those 4 games, then we can lose @ DEN or ORL. So my conservative prediction is 50-32. I could see the Spurs possibly eeking out a 51 or 52 win season though, but that is less conservative. Let's see how March ends.

Mavericks' Remaining Games

27 - @ GS : Nellie owns Dirk's mind, Curry is back healthy competing for ROY, and it's in GS. Dallas is reeling after their losses and their players might get caught overplaying in this one. It would be a major upset, but so was losing to Golden State in the first round. Yeah, I went there.

29 - DEN : Denver needs this win. Dallas needs this win. This is any easy explainable loss for either team and a real tough home game for Dallas.

31 - @ MEM : Split games in December. Each winning at home. Both teams are on a day of rest and travelling to Memphis.

1 - ORL : SEGABABA for Dallas but ORL is going to be on rest waiting for them. Very tough game for Dallas.

3 - OKC : Dallas won the first two games by 16 combined points. OKC won the third in Dallas by 13. Every game is important to OKC right now so this should be another tough home game for Dallas. The young guys will be on 2 days of rest as well after an @ Boston.

7 - MEM : Memphis plays Houston in Memphis the night before and Dallas will be on 3 days rest. Let's hope for more rust than rest. I don't see Memphis winning this one. This is also Dallas's easiest remaining home game.

9 - @ POR : Portland is fighting to get out of the 8th seed matchup with LA. They just beat them in Dallas to take a 3-0 season series lead.

10 - @ SAC : Segababa for Dallas. Sacramento starts April with a 5 game homestand with no back to backs against some tough teams. Dallas is the 4th game of the homestand. Sacramento is just under .500 at home this season too. This would be a major drop by Dallas but it is entirely possible.

12 - @ LAC : Come on. The Mavs have to win this one. Baron Davis has some anti-Mavs mojo and Gooden is out for some revenge as Dallas is just the latest team to decide he isn't as good as advertised.

So-So Conservative Out Look

Let's say Dallas wins at the Clippers, at Sacramento and against Memphis in Dallas. I'm calling they lose in GS, but if they win, they they need to lose at Sacramento or to Memphis. That puts them at 50-27. Depending on where we finish (50-52 wins), we need losses in at least 3 of these 5 games: DEN, @ MEM, ORL, OKC, @ POR.

I think they will lose the last 3 for sure. So to flip it the other way: If they lose 4 of 5 tough games, they must lose 0-2 (depending on 50-52 Spurs wins) games of the following : @ GS, MEM, @ SAC, and @ LAC.

Conclusion

Both teams have tough schedules. The major difference is that we have some easy opponents at home. Dallas has a brutal home schedule and some relatively tough games on the road. It's not a stretch to see Dallas dropping the ball at home and the Spurs continuing this stretch of elevated play (ignore the LA shooting numbers). I think the magic number here is 51. I think at 50 wins, our chances are slim but will dramatically rise if we can add that extra one or two.

If Dallas falls this hard, we could be the three or four seed looking down at Denver/Utah division second place, Dallas, Phoenix, or OKC. I think the most likely would be Dallas at 5 and us eeking out the tiebreaker at 4. Phoenix loses the tiebreaker with Dallas and would be the 6th.

If Denver also continues its plummet without K-Mart (9-9 in games without him*), It could be us winning the tiebreak with Dallas for the 3 seed. Dallas taking the 4 against Denver or the better seeded team of Phoenix/OKC with us playing the other team of those two. The most perfect scenario for the Spurs:

1 Lakers vs 8 Portland or OKC depending on which one you think would put up more of a fight or which one you'd rather the Spurs see in the second round.

2 Utah vs 7 Portland or OKC (see above)

3 San Antonio vs 6 Phoenix

4 Dallas vs 5 Denver or vice versa depending on the outcome of the Denver at Dallas game.

*Denver's wins without K-Mart: DAL, DET, IND, POR, MIN, NOR, MEM, WAS, and NOR. Dallas and Portland are the only playoff teams. Denver could drop a lot more games without him because their schedule is brutal, and he isn't expected back until mid-April.

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