Spurs take on Pelicans in win-or-go home game Wednesday night

Spurs must win NBA play-in tournament game to stay alive in playoff hunt

San Antonio Spurs forward Keldon Johnson, center, drives next to Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon, right, after picking up the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 5, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (David Zalubowski, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

NEW ORLEANS – The San Antonio Spurs will face the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night in the NBA play-in tournament. It’s a win-or-go home contest for the Silver and Black.

It’s a challenge 19-year-old rookie Joshua Primo embraces with open arms.

“It means a lot,” Primo said during morning shootaround. “You dream about this as a kid being able to be in a playoff atmosphere. Being able to compete at the highest level. Everything goes up from here in terms of the intensity, so I think I’m just excited.”

Primo helped the University of Alabama last year advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament where the Crimson Tide lost to the UCLA Bruins. The one-and-done nature of the play-in game is just like the NCAA tournament.

“Absolutely,” Primo said. “It’s high stakes for sure knowing that you lose you go home, but that just makes it that much more fun. I think that’s the mentality for everyone else. We’re just ready to go.”

The Spurs are underdogs at the Smoothie King Center and will approach this matchup as they have every other game this season.

“The same mindset,” Keldon Johnson said. “I feel like just go in, play together as a team, and that’s all we can do. We know if we try to do it by ourselves, we won’t succeed. I feel like with each other we can accomplish anything. I feel like as long as we play basketball how we’ve been playing as of recently; I think we will be fine.”

The victor of this matchup will play at the Los Angeles Clippers Friday night with the winner of that game earning the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.

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