Kevin Durant, Warriors leave Spurs to ponder future

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Endings, no matter their size or scope, arrive suddenly. They do so even if they are inevitable, expected, even overdue, because endings mark time and how much has elapsed, and it always does so faster than anyone can anticipate. It seems just yesterday, after all, that Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs were making one deep playoff run after another, with several ending with champagne and parades in June.

But Tuesday perhaps marked the final game for Ginobili and for Parker, nfl jerseys cheap from china who played 16 seasons together and two days earlier became the NBA’s winningest playoff duo (132). And their potential departures will be followed by more questions about the future of the Spurs, who have long been the NBA’s steadiest franchise but now enter an offseason fraught with uncertainty.

Following the Spurs’ 99-91 Game 5 loss to the Golden State Warriors, who advanced after winning their first-round series 4-1, San Antonio will seek to mend the strained relationship with star forward Kawhi Leonard, who has been away in New York City while recovering from an injury. Some of the Spurs’ top assistant coaches might take head-coaching jobs elsewhere, and it’s not clear what the future holds for their current head coach, Gregg Popovich, 69, who has been away from the team mourning the recent death of his wife of four decades, Erin.

These murky issues hung heavy over the Spurs as they departed the court at Oracle Arena, but for the Warriors, the focus now moves to the New Orleans Pelicans, their second-round opponent, and to the health of star guard Stephen Curry, who is expected to return to action at some point in that series after missing the first round because of a knee sprain.

“If he doesn’t play, we’re prepared,” Warriors swingman Klay Thompson said. “If he does play, hallelujah.”i

The Pelicans breathlessly swept the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round, and their brilliant play of late — behind Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, Rajon Rondo and Nikola Mirotic — makes them a considerable , one more severe than the Warriors might have expected months ago.

“It’s fun watching them play,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s not going to be as much fun playing against them because they present a lot of problems, but [Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry] has done an amazing job with the group. They have come together.”

But the Warriors’ series-clinching win over the Spurs didn’t come easy. first True to the grit and discipline that have long defined them, the underdog Spurs fought to the final seconds, keeping the outcome in question even into the final minute. Kevin Durant drilled a jumper with 36 seconds left, giving the Warriors a four-point lead, and then Ginobili turned the ball over on the next possession.