It’s hard to believe that the Spurs are about to set foot on the court tonight and play a meaningful NBA game for the first time since March 10, but here we are. While many fans have resigned these eight remaining regular season game to simply being about watching the young players develop with little chance to make the postseason, considering their depleted state, the players aren’t ready to throw in the towel, and they stand a better chance of playing beyond those eight games than some may realize.
Spurs beat Kings today, Grizz beat Blazers, Spurs jump to 9th? pic.twitter.com/3PkhgGw6yK— Bruno Passos (@bouncepassos) July 31, 2020
Unless they really bomb out, it’s hard to imagine the Grizzlies will lose their firm grip on the 8th seed, so the Trail Blazers, Kings, Pelicans and Spurs (and to a much lesser extent, Suns) will likely be vying with each other for the 9th seed and chance to compete against Memphis for the final seed in a play-in tournament.
Even though the Spurs currently sit at 12th: the furthest back from 8th seed among the four main teams (based on winning-percentage — and that is the tie breaker since teams will finish the regular season having played different amounts of games), they actually have one less loss than Portland and New Orleans, and a win tonight would push the Kings behind them in the standings. Plus, as Bruno mentions in his Tweet above, combine that with the Grizzlies beating the Blazers tonight, and the Spurs would suddenly be in the driver’s seat for ninth and in control of their own destiny:
8. MEM — 33-33 (.500)
9. SA — 28-36 (.438)
10. SAC — 28-37 (.431)
11. NO — 28-37 (.431)
12. POR — 29-38 (.426)
The next game for the Spurs will be against the Grizzlies on Sunday, and the schedule gets significantly harder from there with five of the remaining six outings coming against playoff-bound teams in the 76ers, Nuggets, Jazz, Pelicans, Rockets, and the Jazz again.
Overall, there are no guaranteed wins in the whole schedule (frankly nothing has been guaranteed with this squad all season, not even against the bottom of the league), and there’s a lot more to the Spurs snagging the 9th seed than simply winning tonight. However, if they want to stand any chance at all, they will need to win these first two games, beginning with the Kings tonight.
If they can do that, they’ll be in control of their own destiny. What they decide to do with that destiny will be entirely up to them.