What a roller coaster ride this season has been. It all started well enough, with the Spurs opening the season 4-0 despite missing two starters with quad injuries. As the season wore on the Spurs comfortably settled into third in the West, patiently waiting for Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard to return while riding the coattails of a healthy, rejuvenated LaMarcus Aldridge.
While Parker made an inspirational early return and graciously seceded his starting role to Dejounte Murray, Leonard’s eventual return only lasted for nine games before he closed himself down again due to continuous pain in his quad. His ongoing absence and search of second medical opinions resulted in rumors of his unhappiness, and all that outside noise appeared to start weighing on his team.
The Spurs eventually accepted that they’ll have to make do without their MVP, but they have still been unable to get things done on the road, going 2-11 since the start of the RRT and losing seven straight away from the AT&T Center — mostly by way of blowing second half leads. Still, they’ve done just enough to stay afloat in the Wild Wild West, particularly at home, and are just one win away from clinching a playoff spot with two games left in the regular season.
That should be more than doable with their regular-season home finale coming tonight against the lowly Sacramento Kings, and then it will be up to The Good Guys to get their first road win since February in New Orleans if they want a chance at anything higher than the 7th seed (in all likelihood). The Spurs control their own destiny to a certain extent, but it’s up to them to take the bull by the horns and get the desired results if they don’t want to rely on outside help from other teams.
Week 25 - Time for the Spurs to find their inner road warrior: The Spurs have proven to be almost unbeatable at home, now they need results on the road.
This week: Mon. vs. Kings (26-54), Wed. @ Pelicans (46-34)
John Schuhmann, NBA.com - 12 (last week: 10)
The Spurs have still won just a single road game since Feb. 7, having lost two games in L.A. last week. But they only need to beat the Kings at home on Monday to extend their playoff streak to 21 seasons. Since that Feb. 7 win in Phoenix, the bigger difference between the 10-2 Home Spurs (98.3 points allowed per 100 possessions) and the 1-11 Road Spurs (111.5) has been on defense, and mostly at the basket. In the 12 home games, they’ve allowed 31 points per game on 57 percent shooting in the restricted area. In the 12 road games, they’ve allowed 40 points per game on 66 percent shooting in the restricted area. The Pelicans rank third in restricted-area points per game, so the Spurs had better win that game against the Kings.
Pace: 97.1 (30) OffRtg: 105.7 (17) DefRtg: 102.3 (4) NetRtg:+3.4 (7)
David Aldridge, NBA.com - 9 (last week: 9)
The Spurs have won two games on the road since Feb. 7 (13 games total). Doesn’t bode well for an extended postseason run.
ESPN Staff - 11 (last week: 8)
The Spurs’ got a much-needed win against Portland on Saturday behind Manu Ginobili’s 17 points on 7-for-7 shooting. At 40-years-old, he’s the oldest player with a 7-for-7 game in the past 50 years.
Rohan Nadkarni, Sports Illustrated - N/A (last week: 8)
Chris Barnewall, CBS Sports - 14 (last week: 9)
The Spurs are one game ahead of ninth place with two games left. If they win out then they’ll lock up a spot in the playoffs. It’s as simple as that. They’re not in a position to pick and choose their playoff opponent. They’ll probably be happy to just get in and get the highest seed possible, but they could cause some problems for the Blazers.
AJ Neuharth-Keusch, USA Today - N/A (last week: 8)