After a historical and magical 2010-11 season that saw them finish with the best record in the West, the San Antonio Spurs entered the playoffs with hopes of riding their unexpected season all the way to the Conference Finals to square off against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Instead, the Spurs find themselves down 3-1 to the No. 8 seeded Memphis Grizzlies.
Don't be mistaken. Yes, the Grizzlies are the eighth seed in the conference; they are, however, far from the weakest team in the West.
This is a Grizzlies team with wins against Miami, Dallas, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Portland, Orlando, Boston and the Los Angeles Lakers, all top seeded and current playoff squads.
The Spurs, on the other hand, could never quite keep up with younger, stronger and, perhaps, hungrier basketball teams.
For so many years, the Spurs used their experience to overcome up-and-coming squads like the New Orleans Hornets back in 2008.
In what might be looked at as a trend dating back to last season, the Spurs may no longer be considered a legit title contender anymore, but rather just a solid veteran team.
Against the Grizzlies, the Spurs looked old and slow. They can't hit shots, can't get open, and turn the ball over too many times.
For one of the few times in his playoff career, Tim Duncan is being outgunned and out-muscled. In Game 3 with a chance to tie on the final possession, Manu Ginobili completely lost track of time, resembling a wide-eyed rookie rather than a three-time champion.
In the end, the San Antonio Spurs and their historical season that included the best record in the West are one game away from being knocked out of the playoffs.
Sadly, it may be the end of an era.
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