‘Packing for four games’: Confident Spurs heading to New Orleans for first play-in tournament game

San Antonio making second straight play-in appearance as No. 10 seed

San Antonio Spurs forward Keldon Johnson (3) celebrates after making the winning basket against the Golden State Warriors during the second half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Sunday, March 20, 2022. (Jed Jacobsohn, AP Photo)

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

Game #MatchupDate/TimeResult
18. LA Clippers at 7. MinnesotaTuesday, 8:30 p.m.Winner secures No. 7 seed, Loser hosts Game 2 winner
210. San Antonio at 9. New OrleansWednesday, 8:30 p.m.Loser eliminated, Winner advances
3Game 2 Winner at Game 1 LoserFriday, TBDWinner 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 - 112-9711/16/21 - L - 106-9211/18/21 - L - 115-90
2/12/22 - W - 124-11412/20/21 - W - 116-923/14/22 - L - 149-139
3/18/22 - L - 124-911/15/22 - W - 101-944/7/22 - L - 127-121
3/26/22 - W - 107-103

About the Authors:

Larry Ramirez joined the KSAT 12 sports team in October 2004.

Andrew has covered athletics of all levels for more than five years and is dedicated to shining a spotlight on local San Antonio athletes and their stories.