After a back-and-forth first half with the Memphis Grizzlies, the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs came out flat to start the third quarter, and from there, they pretty much got flattened to go down three games to one the NBA Playoffs opening round. Why? How?
Just look at that picture.
I almost never get up from the couch to take screengrabs of my TV--mostly because I'm a godawful photographer--but that snapshot pretty much says it all. A few minutes earlier, TNT cut to commercial with Grizzlies fans going absolutely nuts going into a second quarter timeout, and then, there was Gregg Popovich on the Spurs sideline, just looking so, so... beaten.
So can anyone really be that surprised that he and the Spurs are actually getting beaten? Back in March, I wrote about the Spurs heading into the playoffs and sort of called this in advance:
Regardless of their [first place] record, the NBA team relying on the legs of three aging, injury-prone superstars might not be the best bet in the field.
If all things were equal, then yes, San Antonio could run with anyone. That's been true the last few years, too. But with Manu, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan all banged up (again), and Gary Neal, George Hill and Dejuan Blair carrying the torch, all things are NOT equal.
But good lord. Even I wouldn't have predicted it would be this bad, and this painful to watch. There's still time to turn things around, but seeing Pop, and watching all the veterans dragging up and down the court against a frenetic Memphis team... It's certainly not looking good.