San Antonio Spurs recent history in the NBA Playoffs
With the San Antonio Spurs in the postseason for the 22nd consecutive year, we took a look at their recent playoff performance.
There were times when some San Antonio Spurs fans thought their historic postseason streak would come to an end.
Things looked pretty bleak when Dejounte Murray went down with a torn ACL, or when they went 5-10 in November, or when they went 1-7 on the worst Rodeo Road Trip in franchise history.
However, Gregg Popovich and his squad pulled it together to clinch another playoff appearance with plenty of games to spare.
Now that all of the questions about postseason qualification have been answered, it’s time to wonder how long the Spurs can last in the playoffs this time around.
In order to analyze their future prospects, we need to remember how this team has performed in postseasons past.
Let’s take a closer look at how San Antonio has fared in their past three playoff appearances:
The 2017-18 San Antonio Spurs accomplished an enormous feat in just making the postseason last year as Kawhi Leonard only played nine games all season long.
Last year’s team was even less talented than this year’s squad because they didn’t have a solid number two option like DeMar DeRozan to help take the load off of LaMarcus Aldridge’s shoulders.
Gregg Popovich put together one of his finest coaching performances with LMA playing the Tim Duncan role, and the Spurs managed to capture the seventh seed with 47 wins.
Unfortunately the reward for finishing in seventh place was facing off against the Warriors in the first round after the Rockets secured the number one seed.
Golden State made quick work of a shorthanded Spurs squad in five games during the first round despite 23.6 points and 9.2 rebounds per game from Aldridge in the series.
Patty Mills was the second-leading scorer in the series with 13.4 points per game, which was simply not enough to match the Warriors’ historic firepower.
The 2016-17 season ended at the hands of the Warriors yet again, but the Spurs had a significant amount of success before Kawhi Leonard landed on a lumbering Zaza Pachulia, effectively ending the Western Conference FInals in Game One.
San Antonio won 61 games and finished second in the West with the league’s best defense during the regular season.
Kawhi Leonard was having an MVP-caliber season, and he followed it up with an equally outstanding playoff run with 27.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.7 steals per game before injuring his ankle against Golden State in a game where the Spurs jumped out to a huge lead over the defending champions.
San Antonio beat the Grizzlies and Rockets in six games apiece to punch their ticket to the Western Conference Finals.
The Spurs’ Game Six drubbing of Houston without Kawhi remains one of the great performances in playoff history, but the 2016-17 postseason will always be a great “what if” in Spurs history if their best player would’ve remained healthy against the Warriors.
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The Spurs’ 67 wins during the 2015-16 season were the most in franchise history, but it just so happened to come in a year where the Golden State Warriors accrued a league-record 73 victories.
The Western Conference also had another extremely talented team at the top as Oklahoma City put it all together to take down the Spurs in six games during the Western Conference Semifinals.
After sweeping the Grizzlies in the first round, San Antonio was favored to take care of the Thunder as well on their road to face Golden State in the Western Conference Finals.
That looked to be the case after the Spurs won Game One by 32 points, but the Thunder took Game Two in San Antonio 98-97 to even the series at one game apiece.
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San Antonio answered with a Game Three victory in Oklahoma City, but the duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook outscored Kawhi and LaMarcus in the series to lead the Thunder to three straight wins to close out the series.