In many ways, the San Antonio Spurs are right where they want to be: Rolling along, dominating their competition, yet flying under the radar thanks to the Golden State Warriors.
But you can’t hide from us, Gregg Popovich. Even if the Spurs are underdogs this season to the leviathan that is the Warriors, they proved yet again on Wednesday night that they’re the greatest team in all of sports.
Thanks to a 97-81 win over the Detroit Pistons, San Antonio clinched a playoff spot with 22 games left this season. It’s the 19th straight postseason bid for the Spurs, bringing them within shouting distance of the NBA’s all-time record:
Records are great and everything, of course. But with apologies to those NBA teams ahead of the Spurs, none are in the same ballpark as San Antonio. The record-setting 76ers played in an era with far fewer teams, and they only won one title. The modern Blazers and Jazz, meanwhile, held longer streaks than the Spurs, but neither managed to bring home a single ring.
Most Consecutive Playoff Appearance – NBA 1949-71 76ers 22 1982-03 Blazers 21 1983-03 Jazz 20 1997-16 Spurs 19 1950-69 Celtics 19
During their Tim Duncan-fueled run, the Spurs have famously won five titles. Over 25 percent of the time San Antonio has made it to the postseason in the past two decades, the Spurs won a championship. That’s an astounding stretch, rivaled perhaps only by the NFL’s New England Patriots. Yet with the turnover in football, the Patriots can’t hold a candle to the Spurs’ postseason mark; New England’s longest consecutive playoff streak stands at just 7 years. And in MLB, the Braves (14 consecutive seasons) and Yankees (13) fall short of the Spurs.
In fact, outside of the NBA, only the NHL can boast playoff streaks of 20+ years. The Boston Bruins made the Stanley Cup playoffs in 29 consecutive seasons, a streak which saw 2 championships before ending in 1995-96. Six other NHL teams have tallied postseason streaks of at least 20 seasons, and they’re all impressive.
We’re just not sure that hockey qualifies as a major sport these days.
Spurs have 17 straight 50-win seasons… lol. Only thing preventing it from being 19 is a lockout.