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San Antonio Spurs: Biggest games down the stretch

DeMar DeRozan defends James Harden (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
DeMar DeRozan defends James Harden (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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HOUSTON, TEXAS – DECEMBER 22: Rudy Gay #22 of the San Antonio Spurs drives on Brandon Knight #2 of the Houston Rockets during the second quarter at Toyota Center on December 22, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS – DECEMBER 22: Rudy Gay #22 of the San Antonio Spurs drives on Brandon Knight #2 of the Houston Rockets during the second quarter at Toyota Center on December 22, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The San Antonio Spurs will be jockeying for playoff position over the final month of the season. Here are three games that will determine their postseason seed.

The San Antonio Spurs should feel pretty confident that they will extend their incredible streak of playoff appearances to 22 this year.

After a rough Rodeo Road Trip had some fans doubting their postseason hopes, they’ve put together a five-game winning streak capped off with an impressive victory over the best team in the league.

And they have a significant lead over the teams outside of the playoff picture (Sacramento, Minnesota, and the Los Angeles Lakers) as each of those squads have stumbled down the stretch.

The Spurs get eight of their final 14 games at home where they’ve been dominant all year long, but two of their premier matchups that could end up determining their ultimate playoff seed come on the road during the final few weeks of the regular season.

Without further ado, let’s dive deep on the three biggest games down the stretch and determine the Spurs’ chances of coming out victorious in those matchups.

Next: March 16th - vs. Portland

PORTLAND, OR – FEBRUARY 07: LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs takes a shot against Meyers Leonard #11 of the Portland Trail Blazers in the first quarter during their game at Moda Center on February 7, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OR – FEBRUARY 07: LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs takes a shot against Meyers Leonard #11 of the Portland Trail Blazers in the first quarter during their game at Moda Center on February 7, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

March 16th – vs. Portland

The Portland Trail Blazers seem to exceed expectations nearly every year, and they’ve done it again this season as they currently sit in the fifth seed in the Western Conference with a great shot to get home court advantage in the first round.

The Spurs have gone 1-2 against the Blazers this season with each team winning at home.

San Antonio’s drastic home and away splits suggest that they would even up the series with a win at home this weekend, but Portland is hovering around .500 on the road this season and they always have a chance to pull off an upset with Damian Lillard running the show.

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This game comes on the second night of a back-to-back for the Spurs, but both games are at home and San Antonio should get a comfortable victory over the Knicks the night before even though the Spurs were just blasted in New York a couple weeks ago.

I’d predict a win for San Antonio in this big-time matchup, but it won’t be an easy one against a well-coached Portland squad.

Next: March 22nd - at Houston

HOUSTON, TEXAS – DECEMBER 22: DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs drives past Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center on December 22, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS – DECEMBER 22: DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs drives past Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center on December 22, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

March 22nd – at Houston

This upcoming battle of Southwest division rivals will prove to be a monumental matchup for both teams as they try to improve their playoff seeding.

The Rockets are one of the hottest teams in the league having won nine games in a row heading into their Western Conference Finals rematch against the Warriors on Wednesday the 13th.

Houston’s hot stretch has helped them surge all the way to the third spot in the West, and they are nipping at the heels of the Denver Nuggets for the two seed.

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The Spurs are 1-2 against Houston this year including an ugly 136-105 loss at the AT&T Center in late November.

We know about San Antonio’s struggles on the road this season, but stealing a win in Houston would go a long way in improving their seed come playoff time.

Next: April 3rd - at Denver

DENVER, CO – DECEMBER 28: DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs is guarded by Torrey Craig #3 of the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on December 28, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO – DECEMBER 28: DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs is guarded by Torrey Craig #3 of the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on December 28, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images)

April 3rd – at Denver

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The Denver Nuggets have been one of the surprise stories of the year in the NBA holding the second-best record in the West after missing the playoffs last season.

San Antonio has gone 2-1 against the Nuggets with each team holding serve at home this year, but I think Denver is ripe for a first round upset if these two teams match up against one another in the postseason.

The Nuggets have lost four of their last five games heading into Tuesday night’s home matchup with the Wolves, including a recent a one-point loss in San Antonio after storming back from a huge deficit.

The Spurs will only have three games remaining after this matchup in Denver, which will easily be San Antonio’s toughest test during the month of April.

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If the Spurs can take the season series with a road win against the Nuggets, it should give them a lot of confidence if the two teams do meet up again in the playoffs.

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