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Spurs counted on a Grizzlies win; welcome to a new reality, Manu

The Spurs were outworked, out-manned and outdone last night, falling to the Grizzlies. And after such a terrific win against the Lakers last weekend, the Spurs have now lost two in a row and face the Nuggets tonight in what may be a vital game for avoiding the Lakers in the first round, which we’ve talked about a lot.

Thing is, the Spurs don’t really seem aware of the changed circumstances of their NBA lives. Consider this choice quote from Manu Ginobili about the game from Spurs blog 48 Minutes of Hell.

“It was a very disappointing loss, it was a game we were counting on,” said Manu Ginobili.

Ginobili went on to essentially dismiss the Grizzlies’ play with a discussion of the Spurs’ letdown:

“Today we kind of took a break in the second quarter, relaxed a little and stopped playing ‘D’ as hard as we were,” Ginobili said. “And against a team that has nothing to lose, and is very talented, those shots tend to go in when you have no pressure.

But this Grizzlies team has split the season series with San Antonio. They’re not in the playoffs, because they play in the sadistic and masochistic Western Conference. In the East, they’d have a two game lead on the 8th spot. You can’t just show up and get a win against this team anymore.

And even against a weaker opponent, the Spurs aren’t guaranteed a win. They haven’t been there all year. They’ve gotten away from executing against opponents when they need to and are assuming their desire, no matter how half-assed it is, will carry them.

They’ve got a week to get themselves in a position to compete nightly. Or they can count on a longer vacation than they want.