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Another One Bites The Dust

By Jeff Koch on May 21, 2017.

2017 Western Conference Finals
San Antonio 108, Golden State 120
Warriors lead series 3-0

The Spurs played better. They played harder. They competed to the best of their abilities. They still got their butts kicked.

There’s just not enough there. Without Kawhi, without Tony (how quickly we forget about him, and how useful he might be in this series), the rest of the roster falls into disarray, and the usual collective synchronicity becomes merely an accumulation of pieces.

I honestly don’t know what else to say. You can only watch the same movie over and over again so many times and find fresh takes. This Warriors squad versus what is left of this Spurs squad is simply not a fair fight.

Again, the Spurs played hard. The game remained competitive (mostly) into the 4th quarter. The Warriors simply have too many answers. You’re always one barrage of Steph threes or one 3-minute spurt from Kevin Durant away from being out of the game. Any sort of scoring drought is death against the Warriors. The Spurs played a good offensive game, but there were enough tiny gaps to allow the Warriors to beat them easily.

We can pile on LaMarcus, and some of it is certainly deserved. (Where did his jumper disappear to?) But asking him to be the lead player against this Warriors’ defense is too much. It’s too much for all but about 5 players in this league (2 of which are on that Warriors team, ironically enough). Every time he got the ball, he was swarmed. Perhaps he wasn’t quite decisive enough or quick enough in his decisions, but he did the best he could; his best isn’t enough without Kawhi or Tony. That’s the story of this series: the Spurs best just isn’t enough.

If it wasn’t bad enough, David Lee went down early with a knee injury. What a depressing way for his surprisingly solid season to end. Here’s hoping the recovery won’t be too bad and he can come back to the league healthy. He was a great player for us all season, and I thoroughly enjoyed cheering him on in a Spurs’ uniform.

Finally, let’s forget everything else about this game and just marvel in the magic of Manu. This may be his second to last professional game ever. If this is the end for him, he is going out on his terms, playing his way, fighting with his indomitable spirit until the end. There may be no Spur more beloved in San Antonio (and beyond) than Manu, and he is still showing us why at age 39 in the Western Conference Finals. I hope he comes back for another season, but if he doesn’t, we have nothing but awe and gratitude for the true original.

There will be a Game 4. The Spurs will be huge underdogs. They will likely lose. But it will still be 48 minutes of Spurs’ basketball, and for that, it will still be worth every second. This was a great season, even as it inevitably winds to a disappointing ending. Focus on the positive, and enjoy the game.

Game 4 is Monday night.

Go Spurs Go.