The Spurs are now in the 10th spot after losing to the Rockets
The last time the San Antonio Spurs didn't make the playoffs, Harry Potter was yet to be introduced to us. And frankly, that was a long, long time ago. With everything that has been going on with the Spurs right now, it appears that Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili will be resting their aging legs earlier than usual.
Why? Here's why:
After absorbing a 109-93 defeat at the hands of the league-leading Houston Rockets, the San Antonio Spurs have found themselves in an unfamiliar situation, outside of the playoff picture in the Western Conference as they are standing at 10th place with a 37-30 record- tied with the Utah Jazz and the Denver Nuggets. Their loss against the Rockets was their 3rd consecutive defeat and 8th of their last 10 games. One may even blame the schedule as all of their previous defeats came from the Rockets, the Oklahoma City Thunder and, the Golden State Warriors- three heavyweights in the West.
Unfortunately, their remaining 14 games will still include games against those three giants plus the New Orleans Pelicans so realistically speaking, the odds are heavily stacked against the Spurs this time around.
Question: Can the Spurs recover in time?
Mathematically speaking, the Spurs can climb as high as to the 4th spot provided that they win most of their remaining games especially those against the teams who rank higher than them. With the Spurs playing an already-eliminated Orlando Magic next on their schedule, which should be an easy win for the Spurs, they can climb back into the playoff picture again.
However, let's not forget the Kawhi Leonard situation. Sure, Kawhi is expected to make his much-awaited return this month and he has said that the pain that he is feeling is already fading away. But with the way the teams above them are stacked in terms of their respective records, the Spurs will now also have to hope that some of the teams in the top 8 will lose in the final stretch of the season so that they can keep their playoff streak alive. Unless Kawhi Leonard goes supernova and can lead the Spurs to a 14-game winning streak to finish the season, there's still the possibility that the Spurs will not be in the playoffs for the first time in forever.
But then again, the identical records of those who are aiming to get the final 2 playoff spots in the West could be beneficial for the Spurs because it means that one bad game by a team could push the Spurs up.
Fortunately, Kawhi Leonard is indeed returning soon and his return is expected to be a morale booster for the Spurs. And, let's not forget about one thing: Gregg Popovich is still at the helm and he hasn't missed a beat in 20 years. Trust Pop and the Spurs will be in the playoffs. Who knows? They might even snatch a top 4 finish.