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Spurs among 22 teams that will finish NBA season in plan approved Thursday

Silver and Black still have a chance to break a tie with Philadelphia for the longest playoff streak in league history.
Credit: Antonio Morano | Special to kens5.com
Forward DeMar DeRozan, shooting against the Dallas Mavericks, led the Spurs in scoring and assists before the season was suspended March 11.

SAN ANTONIO — UPDATE: The NBA Board of Governors approved on Thursday to approve the league's 22-team format to restart the 2019-20 season in Orlando, Fla., according to multiple reports.

The top 16 teams in the Eastern and Western conferences will be joined by teams currently within six games of eighth place in the two conferences -- New Orleans, Portland,  San Antonio, Sacramento, Phoenix and Washington, sources said.

The proposal vote passed by a 29-1 vote.

San Antonio (27-36) trailed the Memphis Grizzlies by four games for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference when the season was suspended March 11.

The Silver and Black were 12th in the West standings with 19 games left on their schedule, but trailed ninth-place Portland by only a half-game in the ultra-competitive West.

The league is targeting a start date of July 31 and all games and the playoffs will be played at Walt Disney World Resort. All teams will play eight games as well as a play-in tournament to determine the eighth seeds in both conferences.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver suspended the season after Utah Jazz All-Star center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the deadly coronavirus.

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ORIGINAL STORY:

Spurs would resume season in late July if NBA plan
is approved by board of governors Thursday

Hold the story on the end of the Spurs’ record-tying streak of 22 playoff seasons.

With the NBA’s Board of Governors expected to approve Thursday the league’s plan to restart the interrupted 2019-20 season late next month, the Silver and Black will have a shot to extend the record they share with the Philadelphia 76ers.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver suspended the season March 11 after Utah Jazz All-Star center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the deadly coronavirus.

The league will propose to the board of governors a plan that would restart the season with 22 teams – 16 that would have made the playoffs based on the standings March 11 and six more that were within six games of a postseason berth at that point.

San Antonio would be among the latter six teams, along with Portland, New Orleans, Sacramento, Phoenix and Washington.

The Spurs (27-36) trailed the Memphis Grizzlies by four games for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference when play was halted. San Antonio was 12th in the West standings with 19 games left on its schedule, but trailed ninth-place Portland by only a half-game in the ultra-competitive West.

Under the NBA’s plan, all 22 teams would play eight games each at one location – the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla. The league has targeted July 31 as the start date.

The board of governors will vote on the proposal in a conference call Thursday. Multiple media outlets have reported that the league is expected to get the green light to proceed with its plan to restart the season.

If the Spurs play the next eight games on their schedule, deleting the teams that would not make the 22-club field, they would face – in order – Denver, Memphis, New Orleans, Utah (back-to-back), Denver, Sacramento and New Orleans.

The Spurs haven’t missed the playoffs since 1996-97 season, when Hall of Famer Tim Duncan was a senior at Wake Forest. San Antonio selected Duncan with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft, and went on to win five championships in 16 seasons.

The Silver and Black started their run of 22 consecutive playoff seasons in Duncan’s rookie season. The Philadelphia 76ers began their streak in 1950, when the franchise played in Syracuse and was called the Nationals. The team moved to Philadelphia in 1964.

The Milwaukee Bucks (53-12), Los Angeles Lakers (49-14), defending champion Toronto Raptors (46-18) and Boston Celtics (43-21) already have clinched playoff spots.

With only an eight-game schedule, the Miami Heat (41-24), Indiana Pacers (39-26), Philadelphia 76ers (39-26), Los Angeles Clippers (44-20), Denver Nuggets (43-22), Utah Jazz (41-23), Oklahoma City Thunder (40-24 and Houston Rockets (40-24) theoretically clinched postseason berths.

The Dallas Mavericks (40-27), who hold a seven-game lead over No. 8 Memphis, would be virtually assured to advancing to the playoffs.

Teams are expected to start working out at their practice facilities next month and continue training in Orlando for two weeks after that.

Per the NBA’s plan, the playoffs would start in August. The Finals could end as late as Oct. 12, pushing the start of the 2020-21 season well into December.

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