Heartwrenching. Absolutely heartwrenching.
I don't know how else to describe watching the Spurs come back from a 20-point deficit to tie the game with under a minute to go and then see Manu Ginobili sink a 3-pointer. It was exhilerating!
And then my wife warned that the Mavericks still had time to sink a 3-pointer of their own. Or get two-points and a foul, I added. Which of course is just what happened with Dirk Norwitzki, Mr. Automatic with the free throws, getting the easy layup and the foul call. But the Spurs still had a chance with Manu driving to the basket and Tim Duncan getting a chance for the tip in.
But at that point, the Spurs had run out of magic. And for the second time during the series we watched as the Mavericks took charge and dominated the overtime period.
So the Spurs' season is over. What's next? I'm the last one anybody should come to for answers here, but here's what I think anyway.
I think we will see a mass exodus of players as the Spurs try to revamp their team around their core players - Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. I think they will hang on to Michael Finley, Bruce Bowen and Brent Barry, but all of them are better suited at this point to play the sixth-man role off the bench. The Spurs badly need another tall guy to match up with Duncan. Rasho Nesterovic and Nazr Mohammed are obviously not filling the bill, so I think they will be gone. I expect Robert Horry will retire. And I doubt that Nick Van Excel will be back.
What the Spurs need is someone who can come in and match up with an aging Duncan the way Duncan did with an aging David Robinson. I don't know if that means trading, free agents or draft picks, but they have to do something to fill that hole if they want to make it back to the finals next season.