The San Antonio Spurs are headed to the second annual NBA Playin Tournament as the West’s 10th seed and will be taking on the 9th seeded Memphis Grizzlies on the road, who lost to the Golden State Warriors in a tie-breaking match-up today. The game will be on Wednesday at 6:30 PM CT on ESPN. Having Monday and Tuesday off will represent the Spurs’ first two-day break since the All-Star Break.
Here’s how the playin tournament works. It includes the 7th-10th seeds of each conference, and in the West’s case that’s either the Los Angeles Lakers or Portland Trail Blazers at 7th, which will be determined later tonight, and the Warriors in 8th, followed by the aforementioned Grizzlies and Spurs. The Warriors will play the 7th seed on Tuesday, and the winner of that game will earn the 7th seed and is in the playoffs. The loser of the Spurs vs. Grizzlies game will be finished for the season, while the winner will play the loser of Warriors vs. 7th seed. The winner of that game will advance to the playoffs as the 8th seed and will face the Utah Jazz in the first round.
Like the rest of this season, it won’t be an easy road for the Spurs, especially without Derrick White, but they said all the right things after the regular season finale. They know they are the underdog and plan on playing like they have nothing to lose, and that is when they are at their best: when they place confident and loose. Plus, a fresh start and a new purpose might do this squad some good after concluding the season with a 2-10 finish following White’s season-ending injury, albeit against a brutal schedule.
The Spurs went 1-2 against the Grizzlies this season, winning the season-opener in Memphis 133-119 but losing both games of a home mini-series in late January/early February. Neither team ever faced each other at full strength, although the Grizzlies are healthy at this point, while the Spurs are far from it. Again, the loser’s season will be over, the winner will survive another day.