San Antonio Spurs unleash the youth movement in season finale against Utah Jazz

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - AUGUST 13: Miye Oni #81 of the Utah Jazz shoots against Jakob Poeltl #25 of the San Antonio Spurs and Luka Samanic #19 of the San Antonio Spurs during the third quarter at The Field House. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - AUGUST 13: Miye Oni #81 of the Utah Jazz shoots against Jakob Poeltl #25 of the San Antonio Spurs and Luka Samanic #19 of the San Antonio Spurs during the third quarter at The Field House. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Before the game even tipped off, the San Antonio Spurs were statically eliminated from the 2020 postseason, so they finished their season by looking ahead to the future.

It was over before it even started, San Antonio Spurs fans. The 22-year playoff streak is officially over, as is arguably the most unimaginable Spurs season you could imagine. For the first time since 1997, the San Antonio Spurs are officially eliminated from the playoffs, which triggered mastermind Gregg Popovich to hold DeRozan, White and Gay out from the action.

Instead, the Spurs deployed their unit of youth in the (xxx-xxx x) to the Utah Jazz. From the jump, you could tell that the guys were less motivated than usual with the exception of one unsuspecting rookie: No. 19 pick Luka Samanic. The 20-year-old rookie finished with career-highs all around: 16 points, six rebounds and three assists on 5-of-10 shooting including 3-of-5 from beyond the arch. This was easily the most impressive game of the young forward’s career and showcased the fruits of his labor with the Austin Spurs in the G-League.

The same can be said for a handful of players, but none more than the No. 29 pick, Keldon Johnson. The rook didn’t make too much of an impact on the box score, but he finished 8-for-12 with 24 points including some tough finishes and seven made free throws. When the 2020-21 season rolls around, Keldon is going to have a place in the team’s rotation.

No hesitation ?@SamanicLuka | #GoSpursGo pic.twitter.com/5ROFJBApni

— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) August 14, 2020

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As usual, starting point guard Dejounte Murray stuffed the stat sheet and tied his career-high with 14 rebounds. Dejounte racked up 12 points and seven assists in the process as well, displaying his growth as a floor general despite tallying six turnovers. With nothing much to play for, Dejounte played a risky and aggressive game that showcased his best abilities.

Seven of the nine Spurs to log minutes finished in double figures as the team shot 49.4 percent from the field and 50 percent from the 3-point line. Unfortunately, Utah’s balanced attack helped them dominate the turnover margin and generate extra chances that gave them their lead.

That puts a bow on this Spurs season with a final record of 32-39, the Spurs’ worst in 22 years. Even so, there’s a lot of positive takeaways to acknowledge from this team’s play inside the bubble. Winning five of their eight games in this scenario was a testament to the team’s willpower, developing talent and passion for the sport.

Next. NBA Bubble All-Stars featuring three Spurs players

Playoff streak or not, the chant remains the same: Go Spurs Go!

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