Spurs Clinch NBA Playoff Berth with Kings' Loss to Rockets

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 31, 2019

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 26: DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Charlotte Hornets on March 26, 2019 at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The San Antonio Spurs clinched their 22nd straight playoff berth on Saturday with the Sacramento Kings' 119-108 loss to the Houston Rockets.

San Antonio Spurs @spurs

Playoff bound for the 22nd consecutive season! #GoSpursGo https://t.co/gTolXm5COX

The Spurs have made the postseason their home for two-plus decades, but they're sitting in an unusual spot on the playoff ledger. Namely, they won't hold home-court advantage in the first round, which has happened 19 of 22 times since 1997.

Still, San Antonio should be a dangerous out in the playoffs. The Spurs are led by head coach Gregg Popovich, a five-time NBA champion and six-time Western Conference winner who stands as one of the sport's best all-time coaches. He's led the Spurs for the duration of their playoff run.

DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge co-lead the Spurs. DeRozan is averaging 21.5 points and 6.2 assists, and Aldridge posts 21.2 points and 9.0 rebounds.

Rudy Gay is the team's third scorer at 14.0 points per game on 50.9 percent shooting.

The Spurs have an edge over the rest of the postseason field: No team shoots better from the three-point line. San Antonio hits 39.6 percent of its shots from beyond the arc and is just one of three teams to make more than 38.0 percent of their attempts from deep. Five players in the rotation (Gay, Bryn Forbes, Marco Belinelli and Davis Bertans) all shoot better than 38.0 percent from three.

Despite San Antonio's success behind the arc, the team ranks last in the NBA with 25.2 attempts per game.

However, the Spurs defense, which has been its calling card for decades, has not fared well this year. Per ESPN.com, San Antonio ranks just tied for 19th in defensive efficiency.

Unless the Spurs' three-point shooting is scorching hot throughout the playoffs, the team defense must improve for San Antonio to advance. That will be a hard enough task with the Spurs sporting just a 14-24 road mark sans home-court advantage.