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Friday, June 21st, 2013 at 10:10 am  |  33 responses

Heartbroken Spurs Go Down in What Could Be Final Run for Current Group


Every season, fans and media inevitably ask if this is it for the San Antonio Spurs. The Big Three of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, along with head coach Gregg Popovich don’t yet know what the future holds. They’re too busy agonizing over losing the NBA Finals in seven games. Per the AP: “It was a heart-breaking way to end it for these Spurs, who were 21 seconds from title No. 5 when everything went wrong in Game 6. (LeBron) James hit a 3 and Ray Allen hit another with 5.2 seconds to go to tie it, and the Heat outlasted the Spurs in overtime to force a Game 7. ‘It’s such a fine line between celebrating and having a great summer with now feeling like crap and just so disappointed,’ Manu Ginobili said. Now, once again, they will face proclamations of their demise. Only this time, it may be harder to hold those off. (Tim) Duncan is 37, but coming off an All-NBA First Team season and a vintage performance in the finals. The 31-year-old (Tony) Parker is nearing his apex after one of his finest seasons. But Ginobili will turn 36 next month and will be a free agent, perhaps marking the end of the three-person core that helped put the Alamo City on the NBA map, and keep it there for 10 years. ‘I couldn’t love our guys more,’ Gregg Popovich said. ‘What they accomplished this year was something nobody ever expected. They showed a lot of mental toughness and a lot of good play to get where they got. I couldn’t be more proud of them.’ [...] The questions begin now. Will Ginobili return? Can Duncan keep turning back the clock? And does the 64-year-old Popovich have another year left in him? Parker chafed when asked if he thought this was the last run with this group. ‘I can’t believe you’re asking that question,’ Parker snapped. ‘It’s been five, six years you saying we’re too old, so I’m not going to answer that.’ Duncan said flatly that he will be back next season – ‘I have a contract that says I am’ – and Ginobili said it was too soon to think about that. ‘It’s not the moment,’ Ginobili said. ‘I’m very disappointed, very upset. I really can’t say anything.’ The coach said, win or lose, he will take some time after the season to do some traveling and be with his family before he makes a decision. But he sure didn’t sound like the kind of guy who was pondering riding off into the sunset. ‘After a little while just getting up when you want to in the morning and really not having challenges gets a little boring,’ Popovich said before the game. ‘You can only grow so many tomatoes and read so many books. You want to get busy, get competitive again. When I stop feeling competitive around September, then I’ll hang it up.’”

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  • Mike Gilbert

    With Kawhi Leonard taking Paul George like steps, it’s not inconceivable that they make a run next year. Maybe with the help of a few more key injuries to WC foes…

  • Mr T.

    Leonard’s improvement next season should be at least as dramatic as Manu’s decline, especially with Pop expertly managing the Argentinian’s minutes. They’ll be competitive for another season or 2.

  • pposse

    Kawhi Leonard has put himself on the map. How can you not like this guy? He shows absolutely zero emotion and just flat out hoops.

    Manu, although your game is wild as all hell and annoying and hard to watch at times there is still a roster spot on the Bulls awaiting you for the veterans minimum. You will get revenge on the Heat next year, come thruuu

  • RayJr

    Last night was the end of the Spurs “Big 3″ era. It was good while it lasted. With Ginobli all but gone and Duncan getting older, the Spurs “Big 3″ are done. SA will have one last good season next year but will not go that far into the playoffs.

    Also, everyone chill out on Leonard. The kid has potential and talent but will never be able to create for himself so anyone comparing him to Paul George or putting him in that realm is giving him too much credit. The Spurs’ system makes guys like him, Green and Neal look good, but after Duncan leaves and Splitter is the center they will struggle because teams won’t have to focus on the Spurs post play doing any damage.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    So you don’t think a player only in his 2nd year can’t improve in the future by being able to create for himself? I’m pretty sure people said the same about Paul George last season before his coming out party this postseason.

  • bike

    The Spurs have nothing to be ashamed about. They showed a lot of heart, never gave up, and acted very classy after the game was over.

    That being said, it looked like fatigue played a factor towards the end. Tony looked gassed, Tim looked like every move he made was forced effort, and Manu was playing like someone suffering from oxygen deprivation of the brain.

  • i_ball

    Same thing everybody says after every season. Spurs are done… blah, blah, blah. You never know. The get 24 million of the books, actually a bit more – they cam add to the roster and after this series I bet some good players will be willing to play for this small market team.

    And Leonard has a lot of confidence – he took to LeBron several times so I think he will learn to create for him and in this system for others too

  • RayJr

    I don’t see it. He is not a bad player at all but he won’t be a number 1 or even number 2 option. He’ll be a great complimentary and clean up player. The guy that will do the dirty work but he won’t be able to be counted on as a go-to guy.

  • RayJr

    Like I said above, the Spurs do have one more good season in them but you have to be realistic and agree with me that it will be a lot harder after the best PF of all time Tim Duncan retires and Ginobli is gone. Pop said he leaves after Duncan leaves too. Parker is going to have a lot of weight to carry for a while and he will get run down in a few seasons. He has to work too hard to create for the Spurs offense.

    Who do you think would go to SA? Have you been to SA? Besides downtown riverwalk, it is not a very attractive city. I don’t see superstars ever going to play there because the marketability isn’t there. Money does talk though so it is possible get a big free agent their, but I’m sure SA will always be at the bottom of a big name FA’s list.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    I don’t know man. I think it’s premature to think that. He’s only a 2nd year player and 21 at that. He’s got more than enough time to development into a number 1 or 2 option.

  • Dagger

    If the Spurs sign Ellis this summer – a realistic possibility – I have a feeling that they’ll be back in the Finals next year. Monta isn’t a great player, and he’ll never replace a prime Manu, but he can provide some of the scoring and ball handling that the Spurs desperately need. Pop and Tim Duncan could mold him into a more disciplined player, and if he’s willing to come off the bench, that team will be scary. Especially if Kawhi Leonard keeps improving.

  • RayJr

    He’s got the physical tools for sure. I’m really just saying it’s premature for a lot of people to kind of hand him the Spurs torch already. Let’s see how he plays after Duncan is gone and that low post presence isn’t there to take pressure off of everyone else in that offense.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    I agree with you on that. I wouldn’t hand him the torch just yet but I won’t say that he can’t be a go to kind of player.

  • Fat Lever

    Anyone else get a Godfather mental image when Pop mentioned the tomatoes and books? Sitting there in his vineyard, playing with his grandkid. OG to the end, that Pop is.

  • aj

    I literally just loled at work at the last part

  • fruizm

    Seriously. Leonard now is KNOWN for sure!

  • RayJr

    If Stephen Jackson wouldn’t take a back seat, what makes you think Monta ever will?

  • KingBenjamin

    Still cannot believe they gave away game 6.

  • Melvin flynt

    I am a Miami heat fan 1st off, but I have a lot respect for general popovich he’s a one of a kind coach!

  • LakeShow

    I agree on that.
    He doesn’t need to be a 1st or 2nd option though. He can be an All Star third option.

  • LakeShow

    Everyone said that about PG. He still isn’t great but better by leaps and bounds.

  • KoloradoKobe

    I kinda picture him getting into a huddle with the tomatoes and carrots, or maybe holding court in a press conference in front of the lettuce. Maybe he chews out the parsley.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    Exactly. He’s made improvements and that’s all I was saying. If he’s made those improvements thus far then he as well as Leonard can make more.

  • spit hot fiyah

    leonard was awesome in this series. specially the last two games. he is like a young shawn marion without nerves and with a jump shot.

  • http://www.offthebackboard.wordpress.com/ Off The Backboard

    I think this was the first series I’ve ever watched where the respect from both teams towards each other was overflowing, and rightly so.

    There was no posturing (not even from Chalmers), no trash talk, no additional motivation. It was the game played at the highest level and EVERYONE – fans, players, journalists – all knew that these last two games had transcended the sport, however briefly.

    Hands down the best series I’ve watched, just exceptional basketball every game.

    I am a HUGE Kawahi Leonard fan cause of this series. Dude’s a beast.

  • http://www.offthebackboard.wordpress.com/ Off The Backboard

    No way Manu would ever leave the Spurs, especially when he’s inches away from retiring.

  • http://www.offthebackboard.wordpress.com/ Off The Backboard

    The Spurs will be back. I think the only question mark is Manu. TP will still be elite; as will Duncan. He has shown he can take it up a notch if needed. Green and Leonard (aka The Matrix 2.0) will continue to improve. Not sure why they wouldn’t be able to regroup and make another run.

    If they can get someone who can consistently score without the excessive turnovers that Manu gives them, they’ll be back in the hunt.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Co-sign 100%. Well said.

  • KingBenjamin

    I believe they do have enough cap room to sign a player like Josh Smith or Al Jefferson, both players that they were pursuing before the trade deadline.

    Out of the two, it’s a toss up on who would be the better fit due to the fact that Smith is better defensively but is an undersized PF which would force Duncan to move to the center position. Meanwhile, signing Jefferson gives the Spurs more low post scoring which they desperately need and this moves Duncan to his natural position at PF, but while signing Jefferson, the Spurs wouldn’t be as good defensively had they signed Smith.

    But in my opinion if I’m running the Spurs, I keep this core in tact until Duncan and Parker’s contract expires at the end of the 2014-2015 season, re-sign Ginobli to a 2 year deal, and sign Al Jefferson this offseason. I would give these guys that 2 year window to make another run at the title and once that run comes to a close the Spurs can re-build around players like Kawhi Leonard.

  • Ej Gingco

    agree.

  • Mars

    That was an epic choke by the Spurs, and they should be ashamed because they were the better TEAM and they let not one but two slip away. But to their defense they wAXED everyone else in the previous four finals. 4-1 in the the finals is great. Pop is a legend, Duncan is still a monster. TP is still elite. Manu can still ball. Kahwi is next.

  • underdog

    Monta is going to sign to the highest bidder, and the Spurs (and Pop) won’t offer to much for his limited services. I doubt he’ll be a Spur, because some other, desperate team – like the Magic – will throw at him some horrible sum.

  • Mike From Spain

    If you change Ginobili for another good ball handling slashing SG, this Spurs team might do some damage still. Sign a 4 with an offensive post game too, limit Duncan’s minutes in the regular season… well, there are some chances for Duncan and Parker.

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