Remember when a well past his prime Muhammad Ali was pummelled by Larry Holmes? I think that is what we are witnessing in the NBA Playoffs. The San Antonio Spurs have gone from a well oiled championship machine to looking old and slow.
The Spurs finished the NBA's regular season as the number one seed out of the Western Conference. Now they are a game away from elimination from the Memphis Grizzlies who look fresh and are pushing the Spurs as if to say "out of our way old man."
Monday night Memphis defeated San Antonio 104-86 to take a 3-1 advantage in their first round series. The third quarter was a killer for the Spurs, the Grizz outscored them 30-15 in the third and the old, tired Spurs could not recover.
So now this proud team has a steep hill to climb.
"We put ourselves in this position," Spurs center Tim Duncan said. "If we want to stay alive, we've got to win one game at a time. There's no other way to say it."
It was Duncan's 35th birthday Monday and his stat line for game four, six points and seven rebounds, one of Duncan's lowest scoring efforts in 174 NBA playoff games. Not exactly a happy birthday to me moment.
The Spurs were the leagues best three point shooting team during the regular season at 39.7 percent. During the playoffs San Antonio is well off target from three point range shooting going 5 for 18.
Perhaps the grind of the regular season has taken a toll on the old Spurs. I've been to the Riverwalk in San Antonio before but I don't think the fountain of youth resides there.
As the Spurs are finding out it's hell getting old.