Ronald Martinez / Getty Images
This season has not been easy, but the end result is what it always seems to be: the San Antonio Spurs will make the playoffs.  San Antonio clinched a postseason spot for the twenty-first consecutive year and the 28th time in the last 29 years on Monday with a 98-85 victory over the Sacramento Kings at the AT & T Center.
NBA @ NBA
The @spurs take victory 98-85 for their 21st consecutive place in the Playoff!
Gay: 18 PTS
Manu: 17 PTS, 6 REB, 6 AST
Aldridge: 15 PTS, 14 REB https://t.co/bq87IRdDPZ
It would have been anything but a surprise to enter the season for the five-time champions to simply reach the postseason, even in a challenging Western Conference , but the 2017-18 campaign was very rare in San Antonio.
Superstar Kawhi Leonard has missed almost every game, while recovering from a quadriceps condition, which has led to several headlines. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com reported on March 23 that point guard Tony Parker led a player-only meeting in which some of his teammates "implored" him to return.
"The conversation was described as tense and emotional at times," Wojnarowski wrote. "Several teammates spoke, expressing frustration and confusion over a growing division that has created significant tension between Leonard and the Spurs."
Parker even said he recovered from a quadriceps injury that was "a hundred times worse" than Leonard's, Tom Orsborn from San Antonio Express-News .
To the credit of the Spurs, they did what they always do, even without their two-way leader and they won enough games to qualify for the playoffs. Now they will look to build on the final of the Western Conference last season – when they lost four consecutive games against Golden State Warriors after Leonard suffered an injury – after facing adversity during the season.
Head coach Gregg Popovich receives much of what he deserved The great man LaMarcus Aldridge was a critical component in this postseason ticket.
He served as quarterback during Leonard's absence and made his sixth All-Star Game by making progress statistics in his third season with the Spurs. After scoring 17.3 points per game last season, his lowest mark since rookie in 2006-07, Aldridge was scoring 23.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per night in 2017-18 coming into play on Monday behind his home runs. reach and impressive work around the rim.
That, along with the timely contributions of Pau Gasol, Rudy Gay, Patty Mills, Parker, Manu Ginobili, Kyle Anderson, Danny Green and Dejounte Murray, was enough to push the Spurs to the playoffs once again.
The question now is how far San Antonio will advance after struggling through the middle seedings in the postseason for much of the season instead of being at the top where it was so often found during this run of successes.
The Spurs has a mix of proven veterans in the playoffs and one of the best coaches in NBA history leading the way, but it's hard to imagine them challenging players like the Warriors and Houston Rockets without Leonard playing defensively and play the playmaker on offense.
For now, however, they will celebrate another appearance in the playoffs as a model of consistency in the often unpredictable NBA.