Suddenly, the San Antonio Spurs are making a push to skip the NBA play-in tournament altogether. Winners of three straight and seven of 10, they’re now just two behind the Dallas Mavericks, who are 5-5 over their last 10.
Obtaining the sixth seed in the Western Conference is still unlikely, especially with the possibility that Derrick White could potentially miss the remainder of the season after badly turning his ankle on Monday. There’s also the fact that the Spurs have the league’s toughest remaining schedule that includes four games in their season’s final five days.
Still, the Spurs have shown remarkable resilience all season long in the face of the toughest adversities. At this point, there’s no result at the end of this wacky season that would shock me. There are now 12 games left for San Antonio in the last 19 days of the season, and they could end up anywhere from sixth to 10th by the time the dust settles.
With such a tight race in the Western Conference, here’s how the tiebreak scenarios break down with every team within the Spurs’ striking distance. The Spurs currently sit at 31-29 as of Tuesday.
5th seed: Los Angeles Lakers (36-25)With two wins over the Spurs in three days at the beginning of the season, the Lakers own the tiebreaker in a situation where they end up with the same record as the Spurs.
6th seed: Dallas Mavericks (33-27)After winning the first two matchups, the Mavericks won the season series 2-1 and own the tiebreaker with the Spurs.
7th seed: Portland Trail Blazers (32-28)The teams have split the season series, so the tiebreaker will be up for grabs on May 8th when the Spurs travel to Portland on the second night of a back-to-back.
8th seed: Memphis Grizzlies (31-29)After the Spurs took the first one in Memphis, they dropped two to the Grizzlies at home. The Grizzlies own the tiebreaker.
10th seed: Golden State Warriors (31-30)The Warriors won the first and third games of the season series, thus own the tiebreaker over the Spurs.
11th seed: New Orleans Pelicans (27-34)The Pelicans are all but dead in the water, but if they somehow end up tied with San Antonio in the standings, the Spurs will get the higher seed due to winning the series 2-1.
As you can see, the Spurs have hardly helped themselves when it comes to tiebreakers with most teams they’ll be contending with down the stretch. The only tiebreaker they own outright is with the Pelicans, but they’ll have a chance to earn one against Portland in a couple of weeks.
It should be a stressful yet exciting finish to the season for the Silver and Black.