DENVER – The final horn blared on a Spurs’ 117-109 detriment during Denver on Tuesday, and it sounded a small like a last-day-of-school bell.
Or maybe like a phone toll with a postpone from a governor.
In a Pepsi Center locker room afterward, there was a tangible clarity of urgency.
Just to get going. To get out of Dodge. Anywhere though here.
On his approach out a door, partner manager Ettore Messina barked, half-jokingly, during half-dressed players in his local Italian, imploring them to precipitate adult and get on a train to a airport.
The All-Star mangle awaited, and no group in a NBA can use it as straightforwardly as these disorder and smashed Spurs.
“That’s for sure,” indicate ensure Tony Parker pronounced with a pitiable chuckle. “We’re going to use a mangle to get behind some appetite and try to make a run. We’re going to have to get it going.”
These Spurs strike a All-Star mangle stumbling like no group in new memory.
They are banged up, personification a final dual games before a interregnum with their 3 tip scorers – LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard, and Rudy Gay – on ice in San Antonio.
For a second night in a row, a Spurs flirted with winning a diversion they substantially should not have. For a second night in a row, they consumed a diversion in a fourth quarter.
Monday night in Utah, a Spurs led a impassioned Jazz by 13 before acrobatics to a 101-99 improved in a flurry of late mistakes.
Tuesday, a short-handed Spurs ran out of fuel in a mile-high altitude of Denver, where a Nuggets sealed on a 19-8 run to win by eight. During a wilful widen of a fourth quarter, Denver remade each Spurs skip or turnover into a lane accommodate basket a other way.
“We played hard,” manager Gregg Popovich said. “We done some mistakes down a stretch, though it was a good game.”
This is a existence for a 35-24 Spurs right now: They’re usually not good enough, not in their injury-ravaged condition.
They seem to have dodged another damage bullet Tuesday when Manu Ginobili went to a locker room in a third entertain after feeling a pang in his right foot. X-rays were negative, and a group expects to find no critical damage in serve tests designed for Wednesday.
“He usually felt something in a bottom of a feet and didn’t wish to take any chances,” Popovich said.
The Spurs enter a All-Star mangle carrying mislaid 5 of 6 games in February, heading some worried questions about goals that for years have been taken for granted.
That NBA-record fibre of 18 uninterrupted 50-win seasons? The Spurs can remove 8 games after a mangle and still keep it alive.
They face a league’s toughest shutting schedule, with 18 of their final 23 games opposite teams improved than .500.
Home-court advantage in a first-round? The Spurs are in third place in a Western Conference now, though usually a diversion in a detriment mainstay forward of Minnesota.
Behind a Timberwolves are 5 teams tied with 26 losses. The Spurs are a losing strain divided from a inconceivable existence of carrying to quarrel for their playoff lives.
With all that has been operative opposite them, is there any group in a joining some-more prepared for a mental and earthy mangle of a subsequent 10 days?
“There competence be a few,” core Pau Gasol said. “But we live a team. We really acquire a rest.”
For a subsequent 10 days, it will be physically unfit for a Spurs to remove a game. That’s a positive.
The championship stalwarts on this Spurs team, Parker and Ginobili, are not used to this. They aren’t accustomed to carrying to travel into an locus many nights as underdogs.
Gasol has seen a group some-more cursed.
“We don’t have a ripped Achilles going into a playoffs,” Gasol said.
That happened to Gasol’s Los Angeles Lakers group in 2012-13. Kobe Bryant went down in Apr with a damage that hastened a finish of his career, Steve Nash’s behind gave out, and a NBA’s strange Super Team of 4 All-Stars was an eighth seed down to Gasol and Dwight Howard when they met a Spurs in a initial turn of a playoffs.
The Spurs swept them.
Unlike those decimated Lakers of yore, a Spurs still design to get all their bodies behind during some point.
“This group has a talent and knowledge that if we’re all healthy and prepared to play, we can be very, really tough to kick during any indicate by anyone,” Gasol said.
Tuesday, Denver’s Nikola Jokic chalked adult a triple-double with 23 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists. The Nuggets outscored a Spurs 30-19 in a fourth quarter.
The Spurs consumed a career-best diversion for haven core Joffrey Lauvergne, who had 26 points and 12 rebounds. They consumed a season-best 17 points from Parker.
“We’re going to fight,” Parker said. “We’re going to try to give ourselves a possibility to win games. So far, it’s not going a way. We’re not usually going to let it go. We’re going to keep fighting.”
That quarrel starts Feb. 23, when a Spurs lapse to a Pepsi Center for a rematch for Denver.
Until then, it’s time for a Spurs to get some rest and some healing.
They’re going to need it.