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The Spurs tangle with the Mavericks in high-scoring loss to close out the season

The Silver and Black now head into the play-in

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The good guys came out with a full roster (other than Lonnie Walker IV) and played the last game of the regular season with urgency, keeping up with a Mavericks team that was chasing the 3rd seed for the first half of the game before the Mavs shot their way to a win. Keldon Johnson led the Spurs with 24 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals. Jakob Poeltl notched a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Josh Richardson, in his usual bench role, contributed 18 points on 4-7 shooting from downtown. The Spurs can now regroup and focus on the dance ticket to the postseason that goes through New Orleans.

Here, Keldon Johnson had the slamma jamma off of the Dejounte Murray assist. While Murray has been gone due to illness, Johnson has stepped up and led the Spurs in scoring during that span. In fact, he ended the regular season with eight straight 20-point games and averaged 21.8 points per game in the last 12 games for the Spurs.

Josh Richardson is not shy when it comes to three pointers. It seems like Popovich gave him the green light, and he’s still seeing green– even if he’s no longer playing for the Boston Celtics.

Josh Primo with the high arcing floater that flowed through the hoop as pure as the San Antonio River Walk. Primo remained in the starting lineup for his 12th straight game. While it’s not showing up in the box score, every minute he’s soaking in is adding to his very young NBA experience. He certainly passes the eye test in terms of how he doesn’t look completely lost out on the court. Primo does not look jittery and his demeanor belies the fact that he’s only 19 years old.

Come for the block party, stay for the Josh Primo subtle staredown. I say subtle because it really didn’t look like Primo flexed after the block (he’s so humble!), but I was just looking for an extra excuse to cheer his solid play on defense.

It’s been a while Dejounte Murray. We miss you, and we’re glad you got a game in before the play-in tourney begins. The NBA steals leader wasted no time in swiping the ball and taking it to the other end for an easy bucket. Murray had 138 steals for the season (good for the aforementioned best in the league), and has eclipsed the century mark for steals for three seasons in a row. He also had 97 steals his sophomore campaign in 2017-2018, so the man loves stealing cookies, and he’s not even sorry at all.

Zach Collins does not unsubscribe from junk email, he returns to sender and writes out REJECTED in the subject line. Bed Bath & Beyond still sends him spam mail, but that’s another gripe for another time.

The Spurs ball movement was crisp as well as the players’ movement around to court to keep the Mavericks’ defense scrambling. The unselfishness paid off with a Devin Vassell open three-pointer. The Spurs attempted 2,626 threes in the 2021-22 regular season, which is a large departure from their previous three seasons when they averaged only 2,000 attempts from deep. Whether it’s roster-related or coaching-related or both, these young guns are letting it loose from downtown and opening up their offense a bit more.

If you missed last night’s game that started late despite the Central Time Zone, here are the full-game highlights:

Season highlight: I did not quite expect the Spurs to *really* tank or make it to the playoffs as a 6th seed or higher. I guess coming in as the tenth seed for the play-in was what I should have expected. Regardless, I really enjoyed watching these young Spurs grow.

The future is bright in San Antonio, and I still miss Derrick White.

That wraps up the Spurs highlight articles for the 2021/2022 NBA season. Thank you all for coming along with us on this entertaining ride! Thanks as always to J.R. Wilco for giving me the opportunity to write about my favorite team.

Next up, the Spurs head to New Orleans to play the Pelicans in the 9th vs. 10th seed play-in game. The loser goes fishing early, and the winner will move on to play the loser of the 7th vs. 8th seed game for the 8th seed in the NBA playoffs.

Tip off is on Wednesday, April 13, 2022.