Spurs at the midway mark: Five silver (and black) linings

Early Tuesday morning, the Spurs returned from a seven-game road trip that bordered on the brink of disaster.

They went 1-6 on the East Coast swing, fell 10 games below .500 for the first time this season and came home with six players in NBA health and safety protocols.

If coach Gregg Popovich did not exactly return to San Antonio with a smile about the state of his young team, he did not have a scowl either.

“They have absolutely made steady improvement,” Popovich said. “Their losses are still hard-fought. They are getting smarter in fourth quarters. With a young group like that, that’s the joy of it, watching them develop in that way.”

Wednesday’s game against the Houston Rockets at the AT&T Center was the Spurs’ 41st of the season, marking the mathematical midway point.

For those inclined to see the Spurs’ silver and black glass as half full, there has been a lot to like — despite a 15-25 record heading into the tilt against the Rockets.

Coach Gregg Popovich may not like the young Spurs’ record but maintains “they have absolutely made steady improvement.”

Chris Szagola /Associated Press

Before embarking on the ill-fated and short-handed road trip that started New Year’s Eve, the Spurs had won 10 of 16 games and fought their way into contention for at least a play-in game at the end of the regular season.

Had COVID not torn through the Spurs’ locker…

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Jeff McDonald

Jeff McDonald

San Antonio Express-News

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Lead Spurs beat writer for the San Antonio Express-News. Fun enthusiast. Can’t sing the blues all night long like he used to.