The Spurs’ Current Playoff Picture

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As the end of the season approaches, each night provides games that are significant to the San Antonio Spurs’ current playoff seeding. After falling as low as the 10th seed in early March, the Spurs have recovered and have been hovering around the 5th to 7th seed over the past of couple games. With that in mind, here’s an outlook for the teams around the Spurs in seeding to get a better picture of where the Spurs might end up.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Current Seed: 4

Home/Road Games: 5/4

Strength of Remaining Schedule: .580

Back to Backs Remaining: 1

Record Against Spurs: 2-1

The Thunder have the second hardest remaining schedule in the league by opponent record and are only .5 games ahead of the Spurs. They play the Spurs once more this season, presenting the opportunity for the season series between the two teams to be tied. The Thunder currently have a slightly better conference record at 25-20 (versus the Spurs’ conference record of 24-20), but have a far worse division record than the Spurs ( 5-9 versus the Spurs’ 8-6), meaning that this is a tie-breaker that the Spurs could feasibly win. Next Thursday’s matchup between the two teams could have important playoff seeding implications.

New Orleans Pelicans

Current Seed: 5

Home/Road Games Remaining: 5/5

Strength of Remaining Schedule: .544

Back to Backs Remaining: 2

Record Against Spurs: 2-1

The Pelicans are currently in the midst of playing 5 games in 6 nights, with a 3-1 record through the first 4 games. With a fairly difficult schedule down the stretch, playing solid during this scheduling abnormality may prove to the be the spark that the Pelicans needed to hold on to their current playoff positioning through the rest of the season. Just as it was three seasons ago, the Spurs’ final regular season game is against the Pelicans, and just as it did then, that game may hold important playoff implications for both teams.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Current Seed: 7

Home/Road Games: 5/5

Strength of Remaining Schedule: .416

Back to Backs Remaining: 2

Record Against Spurs: 1-2

Of all the teams seeded 4-10 in the West, the Timberwolves have the easiest remaining schedule by far. That schedule should provide the Timberwolves a good opportunity to ease Jimmy Butler back into regular minutes down the stretch when he is cleared to play. The Spurs have already won the season series, meaning if they tie in record, the Spurs will get the better seed. Don’t be surprised, though, if they string together some wins and rise back up in the standings.

Utah Jazz

Current Seed: 8

Home/Road Games: 5/6

Strength of Remaining Schedule: .540

Back to Backs Remaining: 2

Record Against Spurs: 3-0

The Jazz have won 21 of their last 24 games and are one of the hottest teams in the league right now. The Spurs have an opportunity to steal one at home this Friday, since the Jazz will be on the second night of an away-away back-to-back. With the ninth hardest schedule remaining, including two against the Golden State Warriors, their recent loss to the Atlanta Hawks may prove significant.

 Denver Nuggets

Current Seed: 9

Home/Road Games: 4/6

Strength of Remaining Schedule: .585

Back to Backs Remaining: 1

Record Against Spurs: 2-2

The Nuggets are currently in the middle of a brutal stretch of the schedule and have the hardest remaining schedule in the league. Their next four games, for example, are against the Washington Wizards, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors, and the Thunder – all away.  With a road record of 12-23 and each of their remaining games coming against playoff-level competition, it could be difficult for them to climb back into a playoff spot.

Los Angeles Clippers

Current Seed: 10

Home/Road Games: 6/5

Strength of Remaining Schedule: .545

Back to Backs Remaining: 1

Record Against Spurs: 0-2

Currently 2 games out of the 8th seed, the Clippers have only two games remaining against non-playoff teams. The Spurs have already won the season series against the Clippers, meaning if the Clippers string together some wins and the Spurs lose a handful of their remaining games, the Spurs would own the higher seed if the two teams shared a record at the end of the season.

Going Forward

The Spurs’ current playoff prospects are certainly much brighter than they were even a week ago at this time. As they are currently .5 games out of the 4th seed and 3 games out of 9th, plus, given the difficulty of the remaining schedule for the Nuggets and the Clippers, the Spurs’ realistic window of possible playoff seeds at this point in the season probably lies between the 4th seed and the 8th seed, barring injury. The 4th, 5th, or 8th seed would almost certainly mean playing the Houston Rockets (if they advance out of the first round in the case of the 4th or 5th seed), and the 6th and 7th seed would potentially mean playing the Warriors in the second round (if they advance) or first round. The Spurs’ most important remaining games for playoff positioning include games against the Jazz, Thunder, Clippers, and Pelicans. After a rough start to 2018, the Spurs’ most recent 5 game win streak has them competing for home court advantage in the first round once again.

Remaining strength of schedule obtained from www.tankathon.com

 

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