The San Antonio Spurs are in the middle of their easiest stretch this season playing eight of nine games against sub-.500 teams. San Antonio ends March at the 50-18 Indiana Pacers who are fighting with the Spurs for home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.
Speaking of the postseason, San Antonio is on pace to clinch a playoff reservation before the start of April joining the likes of the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat to already lock up a bid. Ahead on the schedule for the 2013 NBA Finals runner-ups are games at the Sacramento Kings, at the Golden State Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers, a home and home with the Denver Nuggets and the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Spurs could easily win all of those games, but let’s just say they slip up twice – once at Sacramento or Golden State on a Friday/Saturday back-to-back. By beating New Orleans, San Antonio would then vault their league-leading 51-16 record to 55-18. That would be more than enough to make the postseason.
Based on their schedule along with the way they’ve been playing, winning 11 consecutive contests, the Spurs should sew up a playoff ticket by March 24 at the latest. On that day San Antonio hosts Philadelphia, losers of 22 in a row and 32 of their last 35 games, who fell at home to the Spurs 109-85 on Nov. 11.
San Antonio nearly won the contest after the first quarter outscoring the younger Sixers 31-13. The victory improved the Spurs to 7-1 although Philadelphia did pull within eight points briefly due to a 10-0 run to begin the second period. San Antonio missed their first seven shots of the quarter and will need to again for many stretches if the 76ers hope to be competitive on Monday.
Six Spurs registered double figures with Danny Green pacing the way with 18 points. Evan Turner, now with the Pacers, led Philadelphia with 20. Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard, Marco Belinelli, Tiago Splitter and Patty Mills added 14, 13, 12, 11 and 10 points to make the decision by Gregg Popovich to rest Tim Duncan very wise.
The way things are now looking in the NBA San Antonio may lock up a postseason berth before Monday when they host the futile Sixers. If the 39-29 Phoenix Suns (visit the Atlanta Hawks on Monday) are able to beat the Detroit Pistons and Minnesota Timberwolves this weekend then that could delay the inevitability of the Spurs clinching until at least Monday.
Regardless San Antonio, who’d have to lose to one or both of the Kings and Warriors to not clinch a playoff berth before Sunday, will be among the eight Western Conference postseason participants come April due to a fast 13-1 start to the season and going 13-1 since the All-Star Break.
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