The Spurs, A Team Coached By Gregg Popovich, Stood Around Stupefied as the Final Seconds of Their Season Casually Ticked Away
Look, you'd have to be as situationally blind as San Antonio was in watching their season get salted away like a deer in headlights not to see that the beginning of the end to a robotically productive era was already in the rearview. The lack of familiar faces and a humbling win total served as evidence that the Spurs of an unprecedentedly successful yesteryear were no more. That said, whether it be taken a two-seed to seven games, or benefitting from an off-brand Tony Parker-like performance from some dude who might as well have been nameless prior (Derrick White), there was still some crumbs of their holistically systematic history.
Now, however, I think it's time to sweep up those crumbs and except that the party is all but over. Never mind them being unable to hear Gregg Popovich screaming desperately from the sidelines. The Spurs we knew and begrudgingly grew to love as the NBA transitioned into a period of shameless flirtation and "superteams" became all the rage wouldn't even need him to open his mouth to know to foul there. It's something that would have been engrained into their instincts since early October. Hell, Manu Ginobili could have been at the goddamn grocery store for all I know and I'd be half surprised if he didn't grab the guy next to him in the produce aisle out of some telepathic need to do the right thing at the right time. I get not making out the raspy voice of a 70-year-old, but how they were deaf to Tim Duncan's internal screams is beyond me.
I was hesitant to say so before, out of an unhealthy respect for Coach Pop that was probably more of an irrational fear that he might find out and somehow shoot an unamused stare right though my decidedly less successful soul, but now it's impossible to ignore. Not just a mere mental mistake, but the most unforgivable of mere mental mistakes in the most pressurized of moments. Considering how well-coached his teams have been for decades on end, Gregg Popovich being helpless to the type of completely unconscionable circumstantial stupidity that has other NBA coaches waking up in a cold sweat is like watching Drago taste his own blood. Forget their actual ability to play basketball for the second, because it's the Spurs' damn near manufactured mentality and mindset that now appears mortal, which means we're likely far closer to the end of the end than anyone wants to admit.