San Antonio Spurs News

San Antonio Spurs: The improbability of 50 wins

By Rob Wolkenbrod
SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 5: San Antonio Spurs react during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies on March 5, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 5: San Antonio Spurs react during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies on March 5, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The San Antonio Spurs probably need a miracle to reach 50 wins in the 2017-18 season.

Since the 1999-00 season — technically 1997-98 if the 1998-99 strike-shortened season does not count — the San Antonio Spurs have won at least 50 games and made the NBA Playoffs. Each season has been under head coach Gregg Popovich, with five championships as the result.

2017-18 started strong, despite the absence of Kawhi Leonard for all but nine games. The Spurs had a grip on a top seed in the Western Conference and a chance at another 50-win season. Then came a stretch saw them drop eight of 10 games, which started before the All-Star break, and put the Silver and Black’s streak of 18 seasons at least the half-century mark in wins in jeopardy.

Not only does this factor what happened, this includes what could happen in the final month of the season. It features a brutal stretch of games that starts Thursday, with a not-so-welcome trip to Oakland, to face the Golden State Warriors. The Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets will follow on this time away from home, before a return to the AT&T Center, to face the Warriors, New Orleans Pelicans, Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards.

Now, it’s possible the Spurs get Leonard back during this stretch, if the plan calls for a mid-March return. Fans rarely saw how this team looks with their healthy star, let alone against the West’s top teams. Whether the rest of the roster can hold up remains to be seen, since other players continue to fall injured by the game. So, it’s no guarantee this team ever plays at full strength — maybe not until the 2018-19 season arrives.

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50 wins seem improbable over to hit in the final 18 games. That means a final record of at least 13-5. Unless San Antonio becomes one of the hottest teams in the NBA overnight, expect something toward the mid-40’s.

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