By Vincent Bonsignore
SAN ANTONIO – In a rare moment of apprehension, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich admitted he is wary of how his team is entering the first round of the playoffs against the Lakers.
Popovich, while talking to reporters before Game 1, said the Spurs were discombobulated during the final stretch of the regular season, in part because of injuries but also due to slippage defensively.
Whatever the reason, the Spurs dropped seven of their last 10 and approach the first round with more questions than Popovich can ever remember going into the playoffs.
And that leaves him uneasy.
“I’d lie to you if I told you differently,” Popovich said. “I didn’t think we ended the season very well. I think we ended it worse than I can ever remember the entire time I’ve been here. Going into the playoffs we’ve never been this discombobulated.”
The biggest concern is the step back the Spurs took defensively the last month of the season after they’d developed into one of the better defensive teams in the league.
“We were doing real well defensively compared to last year. We’d become one of the best teams in the league defensively after being mediocre the year before,” Poppovivh said.”That dissipated the last four weeks of the season. And that was a big concern.”
On top of that, injuries to Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker robbed the Spurs of continuity and two of their best players.
“That exasperated the situation,” Popovich said. “We’re not on a momentum roll or anything like that as we have been in the past. So I am concerned about that.”