Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Coach: Injuries derailed Spurs

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — In December, when the Spurs were breezing through one of the best starts in NBA history, coach Gregg Popovich laughed off the suggestion they might win 70.

"We're not the Chicago Bulls," Popovich said then.

By the end, the Spurs didn't even resemble themselves.

Popovich admitted as much Saturday in San Antonio, where the Spurs returned with the infamy of being the fourth No. 1 seed to lose in the first round and the disappointment of wasting a 61-win season near the end of the Tim Duncan era.

Memphis finished off San Antonio in Game 6 on Friday night. It was a stunning upset that starred the more physical Grizzlies manhandling the Spurs' aging frontcourt, including Antonio McDyess, 36, who will likely retire this summer without an NBA championship ring in his 15 seasons.

The Grizzlies, who pocketed the first playoff wins in franchise history, also stifled an offense that San Antonio revved up this season and was among the NBA's best. On both points, Popovich lauded the youthful Grizzlies.

But Popovich said there's no getting around that the Spurs were never the same after Duncan sprained his left ankle March 21 against Golden State, sidelining him four games. Three weeks later, Manu Ginobili sprained his right elbow and played the Grizzlies wearing a bulky brace.

Including the playoffs, San Antonio finished the season 6-12 after Duncan's injury.

"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. "It's not an excuse. It's a fact that we didn't really go into the playoffs with that rhythm or that mojo."

BOOZER RESTS: Bulls forward Carlos Boozer sat out his second straight practice because of turf toe on his right foot. Coach Tom Thibodeau said Boozer was feeling better but was "not quite ready to go yet." The Bulls meet the Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals, with Game 1 Monday in Chicago.

Coach: Injuries derailed Spurs 04/30/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 30, 2011 7:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  2. Bucs journal: Demar Dotson (mild groin strain) expected back for opener


    TAMPA — The Bucs got good news Sunday on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI exam showed only a mild right groin sprain and who should be back at practice next week.

    Tackle Demar Dotson has only a mild groin strain.
  3. Bucs counting on better health creating better pass rush


    TAMPA — Ask Bucs coaches about the improved depth and health of their defensive line, and they'll look around for a piece of wood to knock on.

    Retired All-Pro defensive end  Simeon Rice, right, the last Buc to have double-digit sacks in a season,  works with defensive end Ryan Russell, who last season was promoted from the practice squad for the second half of the year as injuries piled up. He is competing for a backup job this year.
  4. Rays journal: Jake Faria heads to DL with left abdominal strain

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jacob Faria made the trek he didn't want to take after his last start. It was to the trainer's room. The pain in his left abdominal went from nagging to an issue during his start that night in Toronto.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jacob Faria (34) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 4, 2017.
  5. Rays up next: vs. Blue Jays, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: Off

    Up next: vs. Blue Jays, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field.