Why securing the 10th seed is ideal for the Spurs

San Antonio Spurs Derrick White DeMar DeRozan (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
San Antonio Spurs Derrick White DeMar DeRozan (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The San Antonio Spurs are in the final stretch of their topsy turvy season. With 14 games left, they’re 29-29 and close to securing the 10th seed to at least get a chance to play into the NBA playoffs.

The most important game of their shortened season will undoubtedly be their showdown with the New Orleans Pelicans Saturday night, who could make up a full game of their 3.5 game deficit to the Spurs. San Antonio is sitting right at the play-in cutoff, as only the 9th and 10th seeds get a chance to take over a playoff spot.

Getting a win over the Pelicans would make it very tough for New Orleans to overcome the Spurs in the standings with so few games left, meaning my prediction last month of the Spurs being destined for the play-in tournament is likely to come true.

The next question is where the Spurs are likely to land. Most likely, it’ll be within the 8-10 range. The Dallas Mavericks are currently seventh and have the second-easiest schedule down the stretch. Obviously, getting the eighth seed would be the best-case scenario, as they would have a chance to secure the seventh seed with a road win.

It’ll likely be a dogfight between the Grizzlies, Spurs, and Warriors for eighth, but I have a hard time seeing San Antonio snag that spot for a few reasons. Golden State (7th-easiest) and Memphis (4th-easiest) both have much easier schedules than the Spurs through the end of April and May. In fact, the Spurs now have the league’s toughest remaining schedule, according to Tankathon.

In May alone, the Spurs will have to face Utah and Phoenix twice each, plus the 76ers, Bucks, and Nets. Oh yeah, they also end the season with four games in five nights. Knowing this, I’m inclined to think the Silver and Black will be 9th or 10th by the season’s end. So which is the best case from those?

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Why the 10th seed might be the best case for the San Antonio Spurs

“For some reason, every time we come home, we struggle,” said DeMar DeRozan after a 20-point loss to the Miami heat recently. Strange as it is, that has been the case all season for the Spurs. Thursday’s home win over the Detroit Pistons brought their home record to a disappointing 13-19 overall.

Meanwhile, the Spurs look like a completely different team on the road, boasting a 16-10 record and often blowing out teams they weren’t expected to blow out. Under normal circumstances, the AT&T Center is a huge boost for the team, but this isn’t a normal season.

At this point, the Spurs would be best served to try to get the job done on the road when it comes to postseason play. The opponent San Antonio would likely meet as the 10th seed is Memphis or Golden State. The Spurs were blown out at home twice by Memphis and once by Golden State. On the road, they beat the Grizzlies handily but fell by 22 to the Warriors.

If the Spurs were able to escape with a win as the road team, they’d get the chance to play the loser of the seven-eight matchup to steal their playoff seed. That team will likely be the Dallas Mavericks, Portland Trail Blazers, or even Los Angeles Lakers.

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The Spurs have proven they can be road warriors all season. If they’re going to really shock some people, they’ll have to prove that when it matters most.