The San Antonio Spurs won back-to-back games before the weekend arrived, but it’s not enough for a sigh of relief.
With Thursday’s win vs. the New Orleans Pelicans, the San Antonio Spurs finally got past a potential playoff team that was not the Denver Nuggets or Cleveland Cavaliers. Healthy lineup and all, sans Kawhi Leonard and his nine games played, it was a successful night at the AT&T Center.
Back-to-back wins put the Spurs at No. 8 and back in the playoff mix. It’s a full game ahead of the No. 9 Los Angles Clippers and No. 10 Nuggets, both of whom have records at or above .500 in their past 10 games. This is nowhere close to enough to breathe a sigh of relief, however.
The Spurs can still go as high as No. 3, pending the Portland Trail Blazers actually lose a game or two (they have an 11-game winning streak). Realistically, it the ceiling may be No. 4, which lies just 1.5 games away for San Antonio. That does not sound bad, until a look at the team’s upcoming schedule. Games against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors, Washington Wizards, Utah Jazz and Milwaukee Bucks are all ahead over the next nine days. That’s before a stretch of the Wizards, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers, the latter of which potentially deciding a playoff spot or who covers ground in the West.
Two consecutive wins are fine, but not satisfactory for where the Spurs need to get to. It could be without Leonard the rest of the way, too, if he gets on the practice court sooner than later. Without him, the Silver and Black have a 39-30 record and can fight their way into the bottom half of the West, but against some of the West’s elite teams, it’s no guarantee to happen.