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Tonight’s game against the Pistons is the last scheduled game of the Summer League season for the Spurs, but there will be at least one more after tonight. If they somehow sneak into the playoffs, they could be in a four-team tournament starting on Sunday, and finishing up with the championship game on Monday night. More likely, they will be one of the 26 teams that don’t make the playoffs, and will get one additional practice game on Saturday or Sunday against one of the other also-rans.
The Detroit Pistons have one of the most talented squads in Vegas, with Ausar Thompson, Jaden Ivey, and Jalen Duren. They have an identical 3-1 record to the Spurs, and could be a tough out for a Spurs team that’s already sent home their two best players.
Tonight will see the Summer League debut of Sir’Jabari Rice, who I have been waiting to see in a Spurs uniform since he was signed to a 2-way contract a couple of weeks ago, but was held out until tonight with a health issue that was discovered during his physical.
The big question on everyone’s mind is can the Spurs can make the Summer League playoffs? There are only four spots available, and the Cavaliers and Rockets have already locked up two of them with 4-0 records. The Jazz can also finish undefeated, but their final game won’t be played until after the Spurs game is over, so we won’t know if they won until later tonight. If the Jazz beat the Suns tonight (likely, as the Summer Phoenix squad isn’t good), then they will lock up the third spot, leaving just one available spot for 3-1 teams.
With multiple teams tied at 3-1, the tiebreaker resolves to point differential, and the leader in point differential among three win teams is the Nets, who are +10, while the Spurs are +4.7. So in order to get into the playoffs, the Spurs need to not only beat Detroit, they would really need to run up the score for at least a 27 point margin of victory. If the Miami Heat win tonight, even that might be enough to qualify, because the Heat could end up with an even higher point differential. I really think the dream of Matt Nielsen holding up a modified bowling trophy in Vegas on Monday night is dead. Sorry, Spurs fans.
Dominick Barlow will lobby for a regular contract in his post-game interview.
One final word:
Go Spurs GOOOOOO!!
San Antonio Spurs vs Detroit Pistons (Las Vegas Summer League)
July 14, 2023 | 8:00 PM CT
Streaming: NBA League Pass (on delay)
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