LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The Spurs 22-year playoffs streak may be over, but it’s not something head coach Gregg Popovich plans to dwell on too much.
Speaking with reporters Thursday evening after San Antonio’s final regular-season game in the NBA bubble, Popovich said he had not thought about the streak in the past and will not begin to think about it now.
“It means a lot to a lot of people probably, but I don’t dwell on the past. What’s important is the moment. You do what you have do and then move on,” Popovich said. “Looking at the past doesn’t do much good. Any success we’ve had has been because we’ve had some great players.”
The Spurs run of 22 consecutive playoff appearances tied a professional sports record. It equaled the streak of the Syracuse Nationals-Philadelphia 76ers NBA franchise from 1950-1971.
The Spurs won five championships during the streak and advanced to six NBA Finals. They played 284 postseason games over those years.
The only franchises within 100 of that were the Lakers (218), Miami (196) and Boston (192), according to the Associated Press.
The Spurs won 170 playoff games in that span; only seven franchises have more playoff wins in their entire history. Popovich was the head coach for each victory.
And, by all indications, he will continue to be the Spurs head coach. When asked if he would return next season, Popovich gave a three-word response.
“Why wouldn’t I?” Popovich said. He then side-stepped a follow-up question about fans worried to see him leave with a loose impression of the president.
“You guys are so full of baloney. Here’s the deal. Who told (Express-News reporter Tom) Orsborn that the streak ended?” Popovich said. “It’s total fake news. Lots of guys have been telling me the streak hasn’t ended. I talk to people all the time. They call me, they tell me the streak didn’t end. I don’t know where you guys are getting this?”
While Popovich did not fully commit to another year on the Spurs bench, he said he’s been thrilled by the way the young nucleus of the Spurs came together in Orlando and the way they competed until the final day of the regular season.
“I’m more excited about this than anything you guys are talking about,” Popovich said. “The development of the young kids, DeMar (DeRozan) and Rudy (Gay) playing the way they did, this was the best we played all year. I really enjoyed it.”
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