Sportress of Blogitude

Gregg Popovich reflects upon ‘frustrating season’ for Spurs

Things have not gone as planned this season for the San Antonio Spurs, the NBA’s unparalleled model franchise for over two decades. But Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is trying to put a positive spin on a season that saw injuries — especially to Kawhi Leonard — among other things, somewhat derail what was expected to be yet another standout campaign.

“It’s been a frustrating season,” Popovich said, via ESPN. “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.”

The curmudgeonly Popovich clearly is taking a philosophical approach to this season’s setbacks and struggles. Pop also made note of how injuries have allowed less-heralded players on the roster a shot in the spotlight.

“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,” Popovich said. “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.”

The Spurs are set to face the Golden State Warriors Monday night at AT&T Center. While San Antonio (40-30) currently occupies the seventh seed in the loaded Western Conference standings, the team enters Monday’s tilt in the midst of a three-game winning streak, with the past two victories coming against the New Orleans Pelicans (40-30) and Minnesota Timberwolves (40-31), the two teams who hold the No. 6 and No. 8 seeds in the conference, respectively.

The Spurs are looking to punch a ticket to the postseason for the 21st consecutive year. That said, the Spurs are only two games up on the No. 9 Denver Nuggets (38-32), so a playoff berth obviously is not assured with only 12 games remaining in San Antonio’s season.