SAN ANTONIO – With their season already guaranteed to end today, the Spurs let their youth movement have the final word.
Rookies Keldon Johnson and Luka Samanic both started and finished in double figures, but San Antonio dropped their last game against the Utah Jazz, 118-112. With the loss, the Spurs finish with a 5-3 record inside the NBA bubble and end the season 32-39 overall.
San Antonio worked with a shortened bench, as leading scorer DeMar DeRozan and stalwarts Rudy Gay, Patty Mills and Derrick White all did not play. Instead, Johnson and Samanic were joined by Jakob Poeltl, Dejounte Murray and Lonnie Walker IV in the starting lineup, and all five finished in double figures. The new-look Spurs started slow and fell behind Utah 41-24 at the end of the first quarter. Despite multiple runs, San Antonio never led in the second half.
This was Samanic’s second time on the floor in the NBA bubble, and he scored the first points (16) of his NBA career in 31 minutes on 50% shooting from the floor. Meanwhile, Johnson matched his breakout performance against the Rockets on Tuesday with a 24-point showing against the Jazz. Chimezie Metu also played his best game in Orlando, tallying 10 points, six rebounds and four assists.
San Antonio knew they were eliminated from playoff contention as soon as they took the court. Minutes before the game began, both the Grizzlies and Suns earned victories over the Bucks and Mavericks respectively, securing better records (34-39) than the Spurs (32-39) by mere percentage points.
This marks the first time San Antonio has missed the playoffs since 1997, breaking an NBA record-tying streak of 22 consecutive seasons with a playoff appearance.