After Tuesday’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, the San Antonio Spurs will not finish with 50 wins for the first time in 18 years.
In each NBA season since 1999-00, the San Antonio Spurs had won 50 wins. It was an achievement that represented consistency and winning, as the Spurs made the playoffs in all 18 seasons and secured five championships. If not for the strike-shortened season of 1998-99, it would potentially be 20 consecutive years of 50 wins or more.
However, with Tuesday’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, this streak came to an end.
The Spurs had a 19-point lead over the Clippers, but allowing over 40 fourth-quarter points shifted the game’s momentum, along with multiple, clutch 3-pointers from the Los Angeles backcourt. It resulted in a 113-110 defeat.
The 2009-10 and 2011-12 seasons nearly broke this streak, despite the latter as a strike-shortened 66-game campaign. San Antonio still finished with 50 wins.
In the present day, injuries marred the team’s season and chances at this golden mark. It started with Kawhi Leonard’s highly-publicized quad injury, which lasted for all but nine games; Rudy Gay missed two months with a heel injury; Tony Parker say out the first month of the season; LaMarcus Aldridge has a bad knee. Actually, every player, except for Patty Mills and Bryn Forbes, dealt with an injury that caused games to be missed. So it’s not the typical Spurs season.
Speculation on Leonard’s future made this an even stranger, turbulent season in the Alamo City. He might not don the Silver and Black uniform anymore, pending a trade request for the organization decides on its own to move him.
2017-18 will mark one of the most unusual seasons in Spurs history — maybe topping the list of Gregg Popovich’s tenure. If health prevails and Leonard remains with the team next fall, will 50 wins be easily achieved?