Thanks to some injuries and struggles by the top teams in the West and a nine-game winning streak, the San Antonio Spurs can still get a top-four seed.
Just a few weeks ago, the San Antonio Spurs were fighting for their playoff lives after a 1-7 Rodeo Road Trip caused them to tumble to the bottom of the Western Conference playoff picture.
But thanks to a home-heavy schedule during the month of March, the Spurs have bounced back with a nine-game winning streak.
Seven of those nine wins have come at the AT&T Center where San Antonio has dominated all year long, but those victories have come against the likes of Detroit, Denver, Oklahoma City, Milwaukee, Portland, and Golden State. And all of those teams should be playing in the postseason during the month of April.
The Spurs’ recent surge has helped them gain ground on the teams at the top of the standings, and Monday night’s win over the Warriors helped San Antonio leap frog Oklahoma City after the Russell Westbrook-less Thunder fell to the Heat at home.
Heading into Tuesday night’s action, the Spurs are just 1.5 games behind Portland for the fourth seed in the West which ensures home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
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All of a sudden, the Blazers seem extremely vulnerable with C.J. McCollum possibly being sidelined for the remainder of the regular season with an injury he suffered in Portland’s loss in San Antonio.
While Russell Westbrook will return to the floor after serving a one-game suspension, he will earn another suspension for every two technicals he picks up and the Thunder have a difficult schedule down the stretch.
The Spurs’ toughest competition for the four seed may end up being Utah, who have a very easy schedule remaining, but San Antonio is currently a half-game up on the Jazz and they’re showing no signs of slowing down during this winning streak.
The Spurs do have to travel to Houston, Boston, and Denver before the season is over, but they have four home games against non-playoff teams remaining and they play the sub-.500 Heat at the AT&T Center on Wednesday.
Getting home court in the first round would be crucial for a team that has had such stark home and road contrasts this season (29-7 at home, 13-22 on the road.)
But the Spurs are the hottest team in the league right now, which should give them the confidence they need to pick up a couple road wins down the stretch.
I predicted San Antonio would get a top-four seed a couple of months ago, and that’s looking like a more realistic proposition by the day.
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This confluence of events at the top of the West along with the Spurs’ stellar play of late has them in position to steal home court advantage in the first round.