Gregg Popovich

“I couldn’t love our guys more,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said after a gut-wrenching Game 7 defeat. “What they accomplished this year is something nobody would have ever expected. And they showed a lot of mental toughness and a lot of good play to get where they got. And I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

The Spurs are good for the game. Their professionalism and graciousness and talent have graced The Finals stage across NBA generations. They’ve bridged the gap from Jordan to Kobe and now to LeBron, winning four championships along the way.

This group, led from the start of this run by Tim Duncan and Pop, may never get its fifth. The reality that no one wanted to talk about, as Thursday night turned into early Friday, is staring the Spurs in the face.

“I’m not going to think about next season,” Popovich said. “I’m going to enjoy what they accomplished this season and feel badly about the loss all at the same time. I don’t know how you do that, but I’ll figure it out.”

San Antonio reached The Finals for the fifth time since 1999 going through a watered-down West, as potentials foils like Kobe Bryant and Russell Westbrook, especially Westbrook, fell by the injury wayside.

Reported by Art Garcia of Fox Sports Southwest