Until their recent hot streak, the Spurs appeared in danger of missing out on the playoffs for the first time since 1997, and head coach Gregg Popovich admits that it has been a season full of frustration in San Antonio.
Pop, though, says the Spurs have rallied together in the face of adversity.
Kawhi Leonard has missed 62 of 71 games, and it remains unclear if he will re-join the team in time for a final playoff push.
Pop was asked if there was a point of no return for when to bring back Kawhi Leonard: "No, why would we do that?"
— Michael C. Wright (@mikecwright) March 20, 2018
“It’s been a frustrating season,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “But the challenges have pulled a lot of people closer. You have to do different things to try to stay afloat. It’s been rewarding, as counterintuitive as that sounds.”
Still, the payoff might manifest itself in the form of a 21st straight trip to the playoffs, which would extend the longest active streak of postseason appearances across all four U.S. major professional sports leagues.
“I think everything we do, no matter what our walk of life, you can find things that are rewarding,” Popovich said. “Some things are disappointing. Some things are challenging. Some things are exciting. But it’s rewarding to see guys react to the minutes that they’re getting; some of these young guys that haven’t played much.
“The way they reach out to each other and stay good teammates while the lineups have constantly changed, they’ve shown a lot of empathy and patience with each other in that regard. And I think that has allowed them to keep their heads up. Even though we’ve lost some games down the stretch in fourth quarters, they’ve maintained their ability to enjoy playing with each other. So that’s been rewarding to see that. Because a lot of squads, no matter the sport, may just cash it in in a way, and these guys haven’t done that at all.”