San Antonio Spurs: Against Memphis Grizzlies, Did They Remember the Alamo?

Lake CruiseAnalyst IMay 3, 2011

April 27, 2011: The Spurs try to rally against Memphis in San Antonio.  The Alamo—a Lone Star State Shrine—was blocks away.
April 27, 2011: The Spurs try to rally against Memphis in San Antonio. The Alamo—a Lone Star State Shrine—was blocks away.Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Did the San Antonio Spurs remember the Alamo and give it all they had, or did they wuss out to end the season last Friday night in Memphis? Join me now in discussing what really happened in the city of blues.

Shout out to San Antonio—the Alamo City. It’s one of America’s fastest growing markets. How ironic for the city to be on the rise, though, while the Spurs are on the decline.

My condolences go out to my many friends and colleagues who happen to be Spurs fans. The basketball team put San Antonio on the map, and now they’re being wiped off the NBA landscape by younger and hungrier teams. 

The Memphis Grizzlies certainly sunk their teeth into the Spurs and walked away still hungry. The Grizz beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1 on Sunday, and San Antonio fans took some solace in the victory.

They figured their team can’t be all bad if Memphis went into OKC and walked away with the win in the first game of the Western Conference semifinals. Whether or not the Grizz can keep winning is a different show all together.

Speaking of a different show, it was something altogether exotic in the Memphis-San Antonio series. Or was it? Not really. The Spurs did what they’ve been doing well for the last three years—get beaten in the first round of the playoffs.

The Phoenix Suns beat the Spurs in a first-round sweep one year ago. Before that, it was Dallas.  Next year, it could be the Los Angeles Clippers or the New Orleans Hornets.

Assuming the Spurs make the playoffs next year, they’ll have trouble winning more than one playoff game the way the roster is now. A major overhaul is needed in order to turn around the results of the last three playoff runs. 

The question is whether or not the Spurs remembered the Alamo. Did they give it their all in the series against Memphis? Well, according to their coach, they didn’t—they couldn’t.

Popovich blamed the loss on Tim Duncan’s ankle injury suffered on March 31 against the Golden State Warriors. It was a day the entire city of San Antonio held its breath.

I had to take a deep breath when I heard Pop’s excuse proposed to the Associated Press after the Spurs lost to the Grizzlies (linked above):

“The only real factor that we wish we could have changed is that we really lost our rhythm at the end of the regular season with Timmy going down for all those game, followed by Manu,” Popovich said.

There’s more:  “It’s not an excuse. It’s a fact that we didn’t really go into the playoffs with that rhythm or that mojo,” he added. 

I find this really a sad state of affairs. The Spurs are a classy organization, but they’ve succumbed to the temptation of making excuses to explain their historic collapse in the 2010-11 NBA season.

They started off on pace to break the Chicago Bulls record for most wins in a season, but they ended up with a dubious record of three straight first round bow downs. 

Can you imagine the level of pain for Spur Nation over the last three years? I can. I know it up close and personal.

It’s personal for a lot of them—their loathing for the Los Angeles Lakers and fans thereof. I witnessed a woozy Spurs fan confront a purple t-shirt-wearing Lakers fan in line at a local grocery store. It was around the time Tim Duncan hurt his ankle.  

With whiskey on his breath, Spurs dude suggested the t-shirt Lakers fan get a different shirt to put on. The Lakers fan fired back—agreeing with the Spurs fan and saying he should put his gold-colored Lakers t-shirt.

Neither the Spurs fan, nor his seemingly older brother, thought it was funny. But the Lakers fan did. The Lakers fan said he’d heard Tim Duncan had hurt his ankle. The Spurs fan said the Lakers cat had heard wrong. But the Spurs fan had pain on his face.

For the last four seasons, the pain and frustration has been running as wide and deep as the San Antonio River. It’s been a regular Woman Hollering Creek around here. Now trails of tears over the demise of the heroes of the Alamo City are wetting the sidewalks along the river.

With the help of their very supportive fans, the Spurs have managed to keep from drowning—until now. The bodies of the once big winners in the NBA, however, have hit rock bottom.

It happened on Friday night, but it’s been happening since the last championship season—2007.  The dynasty has been slowly crumbling since then. True fans saw it while others tried to hold on. 

There was a time in the lean years during the pre-David Robinson era when Spurs tickets couldn’t be given away sometimes. The team was that awful and fan support fell off. Those memories from the past cut deep, or can get you cut.

Now this…three straight years…three. 

While the Spurs have been losing in the first round, the mighty Lakers have been three-peating—winning the 2009, 2010 and going for the 2011 NBA championship. 

Dallas got them in 2009, Phoenix set fire to them and swept the Spurs in 2010—and now this.  San Antonio got knocked out of the playoffs in the first round for the third season in a row—this time by Memphis without Rudy Gay. 

Ouch. It hurts me to say it. My condolences. I did try to warn you, though, my friends. I saw it coming last fall before anyone had the guts to say it.  

I don’t want to be the first to say it’s an end of an era, but it’s the end of an era. The Spurs won’t ever win the NBA title again in the Tim Duncan era. They had their best go this season, but it turned in to their last hurrah.

Did they go out like Alamo City heroes, though? I don't think so, San Antonio.

In the city of San Antonio, the Alamo rests in the heart of downtown. There’s a nice garden surrounding the fortress where blood and guts prevailed in an assault on the Alamo Mission in what’s now a modern day San Antonio.

When remembering the Alamo, don’t forget it’s in the heart of downtown San Antonio, Texas. The key word is heart.