Goodbye For Now, San Antonio
The Golden State Warriors held off a late push by the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night and in the process put them not only out of the playoffs but perhaps out of the NBA’s upper echelon of contenders.
The Warriors won 99-91, and in doing so clinched this Western Conference first-round series in five games. They did it without Seth Curry, and they did it in a way that exposed every crack in the magnificent structure that has been the Spurs.
Crisp passes on baseline cuts caught the Spurs flat-footed. The Spurs couldn’t get to loose balls. Through three quarters they did not score a single point off the fast break (the Warriors got 19). And, for the third straight game, they were without coach Gregg Popovich, grieving the loss last week of his wife Erin to a lengthy illness.
Time catches up with every team. After 21 consecutive seasons in the playoffs and five NBA titles, it could be the Spurs’ turn to find a way to rebuild.
Popovich, 69, might come back for a 23rd season. But he’ll also be coaching the United States Olympic team in 2020 and may, after his wife’s death, rethink the NBA and its grueling demands.
For a number of the players? Well, it’s either should they or could they return?
The injured Kawhi Leonard ought to be a priority, but he seems aggrieved about issues beyond that problematic quadriceps. He’s an All-Star forward and the Spurs are better with him.
Guard Tony Parker? He’s 35. Forward Manu Ginobili? He’s 40. Pau Gasol, who can play center as well as forward? He’s 37.
The Spurs had a fabulous run, through the Tim Duncan-David Robinson years and a stretch of three titles in five seasons. That’s what comes to mind when we think of the Spurs.
Thanks for the memories.
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