La Feria News

Spurs miss the playoffs for the first time in 23 seasons

By DAVE FAVILA
LFN

The streak is over.

After a record-tying 22 straight NBA playoff appearances, the San Antonio Spurs failed to make it a record 23 as they were eliminated from postseason contention on Aug. 13.

Although they lost to the Utah Jazz on Aug. 13, 118-112, their playoff fate was actually sealed prior to their game after Memphis beat Milwaukee and Phoenix beat Dallas. The Spurs had needed the Grizzlies or the Suns to lose in order to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

The Spurs’ 22-year playoff streak tied the run set by the Philadelphia 76ers, who had qualified for the postseason every year from 1950 through 1971.
The longest active playoff streak now belongs to the Houston Rockets, who began the postseason last week for the eighth straight year.

To put the Spurs’ streak in perspective, the last time they missed the playoffs David Stern wasn’t even halfway through his 30-year run as the NBA commissioner, Charlotte was still six and a half years away from getting a franchise and famed coach Pat Riley was still the head coach for the LA Lakers.

In fact, the last time the Spurs had a losing season was the 1996-97 campaign, which was the year Gregg Popovich became the Spurs’ head coach 18 games into the season.

Still, it was a mighty fine run. During the 22-year span, the Spurs won five NBA titles and won 170 playoff games.

“You can’t say enough about the Spurs,” Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder told the Associated Press after beating San Antonio on Aug. 13. “They’ve been the premier franchise in the NBA for a long time.”

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