Spurs sellout Moody Center in back-to-back games in “I-35 Series”

Luke Lawhorn, Sports Editor

AUSTIN – The Spurs are just one game away from the end of their worst season in 26 years.

Though San Antonio was not necessarily projected to win the NBA Finals or even to make the playoffs, its 21-60 record, including franchise record-setting losing streaks, is something the players, coaches, front office and fans can finally put behind them. 

Aside from the Spurs’ struggles in the win-loss columns, the franchise made business decisions to help propel the team in marketing.

In an attempt to grow the team’s fanbase and publicity, the club decided to market itself outside of Bexar County and play in front of a new crowd.

The “I-35 Series” consisted of two home-away-from-home games for the Spurs, taking place in Austin at the Moody Center to expand the team’s fanbase.

It is safe to say that Austin has welcomed the Spurs, having sold out the Moody Center in both games of the series.

“Obviously, people enjoy it,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “It’s great to see the place packed like that. It’s a great town, so hopefully, we’ll be doing it more.”

San Antonio went 1-1 in the two games in Austin.

The Spurs won its 21st game of the season on Thursday evening in the first game of the series 129-127 against Portland.

The victory over the Trailblazers prevented San Antonio from tying the 20-62 record from the 1996-97 season, which remains the worst record in franchise history.

The Spurs dropped their second game in the state capital to Minnesota 151-131 on Saturday afternoon.

“Minnesota was really hot from three; they must’ve made close to 25,” Popovich said.

The Timberwolves shot 55.8 percent from three on Saturday, making 24 3-pointers in the 20-point win.

So, close enough, Pop.

Minnesota forward Anthony Edwards had a game-high 33 points in 25 minutes, including 16 first-quarter points. 

All-Star forward Karl Anthony-Towns added 22 points, eight assists and eight rebounds, while Mike Conley added 20 points in 24 minutes.

The Timberwolves’ 151 points are the most points allowed under a Popovich-coached team in regulation.

San Antonio shot well against the Timberwolves, shooting 52.6 percent from the field and 44.8 percent from three.

The Spurs had three players above the 20-point barrier. Julian Champagnie led San Antonio with 24 points, and Keita Bates-Diop added 22.

Tre Jones finished with 21 points, while also adding 12 assists and snagged 10 rebounds, making his second career triple-double in the last three games.

Though Jones would prefer more team success, the third-year guard out from Duke is happy with his personal progress.

“I feel like I’m in a good position right now,” Jones said. “I made a lot of strides this year. I’ve gotten a lot better in a lot of different areas that I wanted to.”

Now at 21-60, the Spurs will travel up to Dallas to play the Mavericks on Sunday afternoon for both teams’ season finale at the American Airlines Center.