Two last-second losses, including a seemingly once-in-a-lifetime collapse at the hands of the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, can frazzle a team. But the steely San Antonio Spurs, who have led the Western Conference from wire to wire?
Well, consecutive losses for only the second time this season have allowed the hard-charging Los Angeles Lakers to draw just a little bit closer with still one more meeting between the two powerhouses to come on April 12.
And Sunday's third consecutive loss, the first such streak of the season, has made the situation all the more tense.
"It doesn't seem like that big a lead," Spurs forward Antonio McDyess said. "We definitely feel like we can hold onto it, but you can't relax because you can still be caught."
A measure of skittishness will take hold of a team on a losing streak that is also without its heart-and-soul player. In the Spurs' case, Tim Duncan is sidelined with a sprained ankle and could be lost for the remainder of the regular season.
Thing can turn downright nightmarish when the team's leading scorer also gets dinged. That was the case Sunday when Manu Ginobili sustained a bruise thigh in the first half, tried to come back in the second half, but ultimately had to leave the game.
Still, it doesn't mean, with nine games left in the regular season, and the Lakers bearing down, that times have become desperate.
"Desperate is a strong word," Spurs guard Tony Parker said. "We definitely want to play better."
GRIZZLIES 111, SPURS 104: Memphis outscored San Antonio 16-7 late in the fourth quarter to pull out their second win over the NBA's best team this season. With leading scorer Manu Ginobili having left the game with a bruised thigh and just two points, the Spurs had just three players in double-figures, led by reserve guard George Hill. Tony Parker had 20 points and six assists and Richard Jefferson finished with 13 points after hitting all three of his three-pointers early in the game. Memphis was led by Zach Randolph and Tony Allen, both of whom had 23 points.
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