SAN ANTONIO – After their heartbreaking 112-111 loss to the Grizzlies on March 30, the Spurs found themselves in 11th in the NBA’s Western Conference standings with six games left in the regular season.
Six days later, San Antonio has won three straight games and clinched a spot in this year’s play-in tournament.
Thanks to a home sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday and Sunday and a stunning 116-97 upset of the No. 6 seed Denver Nuggets on the road on Tuesday night, all the Spurs needed to secure a second straight berth in the NBA play-in tournament was a Lakers loss to the Suns. Phoenix obliged, pounding Los Angeles 121-110 to knock the Lakers out of contention entirely. Lakers star LeBron James did not play against the Suns due to left ankle soreness. As a result, San Antonio will enter this year’s play-in tournament as either the No. 9 or No. 10 seed.
Last year, the Spurs qualified for the inaugural play-in tournament as the No. 10 seed, but fell to No. 9 Memphis 100-96.
WESTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS
|9. New Orleans Pelicans||35-44||---|
|10. San Antonio Spurs||34-45||1|
|----OUT OF PLAY-IN----||---||---|
|11. Los Angeles Lakers (ELIMINATED)||31-48||4|
Even though they have clinched, the Spurs still have plenty to play for as the regular season comes to a close. San Antonio owns the tiebreaker over New Orleans because they won the regular season series 3 games to 1. If the two teams finish with the same overall record, the Spurs would finish ahead of the Pelicans in the standings and host the first play-in game at the AT&T Center. All San Antonio needs to do to accomplish this feat is win one more game than the Pelicans this week. If the standings remain as they currently are, the Spurs will travel to the Smoothie King Center for their play-in tournament matchup.
|at Minnesota - Thursday, April 7||vs. Portland - Thursday, April 7|
|vs. Golden State - Saturday, April 9||at Memphis - Saturday, April 9|
|at Dallas - Sunday, April 10||vs. Golden State - Sunday, April 10|
*Home games in bold