SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs are heading to the Big Easy knowing they have a tough road ahead of them to qualify for the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2019. The 10th-place Spurs must beat the ninth-place Pelicans and then must defeat either the seventh-place Timberwolves or the eighth-place Clippers to earn the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.
San Antonio first faces New Orleans on Wednesday in a do-or-die play-in game. Win that contest, and the Spurs will fly either to Minnesota or Los Angeles to face the loser of the other Western Conference play-in series in one more do-or-die contest. If the Spurs lose either one of the play-in games, their season is over.
“This is what you sign up for,” Dejounte Murray said. “You see what you’re made of. You go out and don’t worry about mistakes. You don’t worry about anything besides winning a basketball game. Whatever it takes, give it your all. It’s win or go home, and I love these types of games. We don’t want to go home, so we have to approach it like we don’t want to go home and get a win.”
Two more road wins would get the Spurs a first-round matchup with the top-seeded Phoenix Suns. That best-of-seven series starts Sunday in the Valley of the Sun with the first two games at the Footprint Center.
“We are packing for four games,” Keldon Johnson said. “We are packing for two play-ins and two playoff games. Everybody on the team is packing for four games. We’re going to be ready to play.”
The Spurs have more road wins (18) than home wins (16) this season, so earning two more is not impossible.
The Spurs will hold practice Tuesday in San Antonio before leaving for New Orleans later in the day.
WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAY-IN TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
|1||8. LA Clippers at 7. Minnesota||Tuesday, 8:30 p.m.||Winner secures No. 7 seed, Loser hosts Game 2 winner|
|2||10. San Antonio at 9. New Orleans||Wednesday, 8:30 p.m.||Loser eliminated, Winner advances|
|3||Game 2 Winner at Game 1 Loser||Friday, TBD||Winner secures No. 8 seed, Loser eliminated|
SPURS RECORD VS. PLAY-IN TOURNAMENT TEAMS
|vs. Pelicans (3-1)||vs. Clippers (2-1)||vs. Timberwolves (0-3)|
|12/12/21 - W - 112-97||11/16/21 - L - 106-92||11/18/21 - L - 115-90|
|2/12/22 - W - 124-114||12/20/21 - W - 116-92||3/14/22 - L - 149-139|
|3/18/22 - L - 124-91||1/15/22 - W - 101-94||4/7/22 - L - 127-121|
|3/26/22 - W - 107-103|