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The Spurs’ valiant efforts came up short in play-in loss to the Pelicans

As the Cubs used to say, next season is our season!

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at New Orleans Pelicans Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Spurs’ season was a roller coaster of emotion from straddling the limbo of a lotto team to playoff bubble team. Thanks to a mix of the L.A. Lakers’ woes and the good guys hitting their stride late in the regular season, they managed to make the play-in tourney as the 10th seed and faced a New Orleans Pelicans team that seemed better than their record indicated.

The game in many ways reflected how the Spurs’ season went, with some highs and lows, punctuated by a late, frenetic push that almost got them to the promised land. Devin Vassell led the Spurs with 23 points on a hot 7 - 13 from downtown, while Jakob Poeltl and Dejounte Murray fought through foul trouble to get 16 points apiece.

The Spurs ended this season the same way they ended last season, with a loss in the play-in tourney. The difference this year is that there seems to be more of a clear path forward. The team will build around Dejounte Murray, and the rest of the young core. Be it through the draft or free agency, they will also add some important pieces around a foundation ready to take a bigger step next season.

Devin Vassell started off strong, but his sniping from deep kept the Spurs in the game. Vassell continued to impress, especially on the big stage and did not shrink from the moment. The soon-to-be third year player will be interesting to watch as he continues to grow and add to his already impressive arsenal.

Jonas Valanciunas was a handful, but Jakob Poeltl had a perfectly timed block that sent the ball into the hands of Murray to jump start a Spurs transition.

Jaaaaay Reeeech. The Spurs’ X-factor since February provided the team with a spark that started their late run with plays like this. Josh Richardson did not attempt his usual amount of threes, but he was 2 -4 from deep and was a big part of the late surge that almost brought the Spurs all the way back to a lead late in the game.

Devin Vassell had a nice find through traffic to get the ball to Poeltl, who gently laid the ball in to rest. The Spurs had a bit of trouble finding easy buckets as evidenced by their 19 assists for the game, but Vassell did his part with his scoring and play making.

Zach Collins conjured this shot into the bucket and used every tool in his bag to fool his man in the post. Collins’s return from injury was a highlight for the Spurs. With a full off season to workout rather than rehab, it will be interesting to see him full integrated into the roster next season.

I wanted to end the season on a hopeful note, and nothing says hopeful like Josh Primo. This small peak into his play making abilities is hopefully a preview of larger things to come. Primo started more games than most fans would expect him to, and while there was a lot of room for him to improve, the 19-year-old rookie showed that he belonged. His poise on the floor will be a huge asset as his NBA career is just now taking off.

And last but never least, the full-game highlights:

Next up, the Spurs’ season ends, but preparations will be soon made for next season. The NBA draft is on June 23, 2022, and the Spurs will have multiple first round picks to bolster their roster. In addition to the draft, free agency, trades, and the usual player/coach movement will be something to keep an eye on ahead of next season. Go Spurs Go!