It’s been a bittersweet day for the Spurs organization and their fans. For the first time in 22 years, San Antonio won’t be participating in the NBA postseason. The good guys are now tied with the 1950-71 76ers for the longest playoff streak in league history, which is all the more impressive considering the NBA has had a total of 30 teams for the majority of the Spurs’ historic run.
San Antonio knew before tipoff that they have been eliminated from postseason contention, so Gregg Popovich elected to sit veterans such as Demar DeRozan and Rudy Gay in favour of providing ample playing time for the young guns. Derrick White was also held out of the game since he possibly hasn’t fully recovered from the knee contusion he suffered during the win over New Orleans on Sunday.
Although the team is undoubtedly disappointed that their season is over, there’s no denying that the future of the Spurs is bright. San Antonio’s youth was put on display for the whole game and the young guns flashed moments of brilliance that will leave fans excited for what’s to come.
Jakob Poeltl continued to show why many consider him an integral part of the team’s future. The big man made life difficult for the Jazz by getting multiple blocks while also displaying more confidence on the offensive end.
Meanwhile, Lonnie Walker IV shot the ball well and showed off his smooth stroke. We all know that he has the ability to put anyone on a poster, but it’s nice to see him hitting threes with ease.
Keldon Johnson’s breakout continued as well; the rookie tied his career high of 24 points and did it while shooting 8 of 12 from the field. His unrelenting motor was again on display, as he stayed aggressive and sacrificed his body to score on every play.
However, Luka Samanic was arguably the most impressive Spur during the game. All eyes were on him as he had only played 17 total NBA minutes before Thursday and had yet to register his first career point. Samanic showed confidence throughout the game by shooting without hesitation and scored 16 points while making three shots from beyond the arc.
Of course, no Spurs season would be complete without a few witty soundbites from Pop, who didn’t seem too concerned about his team missing the postseason for the first time in over two decades.
Pop’s reaction to the Spurs playoff streak coming to an end pic.twitter.com/bTkHQNch38— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 14, 2020
Even though this season didn’t quite go as planned, fans can take solace in the fact that the team is in good hands moving forward. The Spurs have been the most consistent franchise in basketball over the past 22 years and could very well be back in the playoffs next season. The last two decades have provided countless unforgettable moments; here’s hoping the next two will be equally memorable.