With the 98-85 victory over Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs managed to clinch the playoff spot for the 21st consecutive season. This also became the second longest playoff appearance streak (tied with the Portland Trail Blazers) in the history of the league. The Spurs coach Gregg Popovich called the feat “wonderful.”
Although the NBA playoffs without the Spurs seem unimaginable, that was a real option this season. Their best player Kawhi Leonard only played in nine games this season, with the team having to send 25 different starting line-ups due to various problems and injuries. This, combined with the loaded Western Conference, meant that Spurs had to really fight their way into the playoffs.
“It is a different position,” – said Popovich. “We haven’t really been in that kind of a position very often. But all the same, things apply: being humble in wins, learning from losses and moving on, not dwelling on things, just trying to improve. It’s like we’ve said in any other year: We want to be the best team we can be, come playoff time. I think at this point, other than our road play, we’ve gotten to the point where we know our team pretty well. We’re as good as we can get. We’ve got a lot of guys that have really progressed. We all have been frustrated because we wanted to pick up where we left off last year, and that didn’t happen for all the reasons we know. But life goes on. I think under the circumstances, they’ve done a wonderful job of being in this position. Hopefully, we’ll finish it the right way.“
San Antonio Spurs currently sit as the sixth seed in the Western Conference, with one game left to go. If they manage to beat the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday, they will secure at least the fifth seed and could even get the four in case Utah Jazz loses one of their two games left.