Are the San Antonio Spurs in danger of missing the play-in tournament?
By Josh Paredes
The San Antonio Spurs now have less than three games of cushion over the 11th seed in the Western Conference. After losing their third straight in a hard-fought overtime game to the Philadelphia 76ers, the margin for error is getting thinner while opponents are getting tougher.
With nine games remaining in their season, the Spurs now sit at 31-32 with a 49.2 percent winning mark. Realistically, only the New Orleans Pelicans have a shot at catching San Antonio. Winners of two straight, the Pelicans are currently 29-35 and within 2.5 games of the Spurs.
The good news? The Pelicans are one of the few teams in which the Silver and Black own the tiebreaker. Still, the Spurs cannot afford to go cold down the stretch of their season, especially with the recent loss of Derrick White. With the league’s toughest remaining schedule, that might not even be in their control.
The remaining schedule will make or break the San Antonio Spurs’ shot
The remaining nine opponents for the Spurs have a staggering 63.4 percent winning percentage combined. The team also ends the season by playing four games in five days, with the last two being against the top-seeded Phoenix Suns. Here’s how the remaining schedule breaks down:
5/3 – @ Jazz5/5 – @ Jazz5/7 – @ Kings5/8 – @ Blazers (tiebreaker at stake)5/10 – vs. Bucks5/12 – @ Nets5/13 – @ Knicks5/15 & 5/16 – vs. Suns
Meanwhile, the Pelicans have a strength of schedule of 53.6 percent, the seventh-toughest in the league. Their schedule is as follows:
5/3 – vs. Warriors5/4 – vs. Warriors5/7 – @ 76ers5/9 – @ Hornets5/10 – @ Grizzlies5/12 – @ Mavericks5/14 – @ Warriors5/16 – vs. Lakers
The Pelicans have five road games out of their eight total, which is good news for the Spurs. New Orleans is just 12-19 away from the Smoothie King Center. Also, the Charlotte Hornets are the only team they face to close out the season that’s currently under .500.
It was once almost a given the Spurs would be assured a spot in the play-in tournament, even if as the lowest seed possible. Now, they might need some help from Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors to keep them treading water enough to hold Zion Williamson and New Orleans off.
The odds are high we’ll have a good idea of who will snag 10th by the end of the week. Meanwhile, the Spurs have to hope they can find fortune in Salt Lake City to give themselves some breathing room as the Pelicans scramble for an outside shot.