Puff Daddy and Mase topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart with their smash song “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” the last time the San Antonio Spurs missed the NBA playoffs.
It’s that long ago – in the 1996/97 season.
The final buzzer sounded Thursday night when the Utah Jazz led San Antonio 1
“It probably means a lot to a lot of people, but I’m not going into the past,” said legendary Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who won five NBA titles during that time. “That stuff is total [not] important; What matters is the moment you do what you need to do, then move on, but looking back doesn’t do much good. Every success we’ve had is because we’ve had some great players. “
The Spurs entered the game Thursday after winning three straight wins, despite being predicted to be playoff long shots in the NBA’s Walt Disney World bubble. The Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns victories prior to Thursday’s tip officially cemented San Antonio’s elimination, but the Spurs were able to stay in the competition until the end.
“I’m more excited about it than anything you’re talking about, success or failure, because success for flicks or whatever the hell you’re talking about ended,” Popovich said. “I might be less interested in that. I’m excited about the way you played here.”
He praised the efforts of his core young players after the restart, just before reaching the box office, which begins Saturday and will face Portland No. 8 versus Memphis No. 9.
“They didn’t get a chance to get into this thing and basically wanted to get into it to take this opportunity,” he added. “The development of the young children, who mostly play the way they did, is the best we’ve played all year. I really enjoyed it.”
Spurs Guard DeMar DeRozan said the team’s elimination was tough to swallow.
“I can live with it if we go out there and it matters that we win or lose and we lose,” he said. “I could accept that a little more than watching other teams play and not really playing their starters and giving the other team a chance to somehow win. That was extremely frustrating.”
According to research by the Elias Sports Bureau, 117 active NBA players were born on or after April 20, 1997 – the last day of the Spurs 1996-97 season when they previously missed the pre-season playoffs. This includes players from the eight teams who weren’t in the bubble, according to ESPN Stats & Information Research.
The 22-year streak of playoff spots has tied the Philadelphia 76ers’ franchise for the longest in NBA history. The 76ers, who started as Syracuse Nationals before moving to Philadelphia, went to the playoffs every year from 1950 to 1971.
The Houston Rockets now have the longest active postseason streak, with eight seasons.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.