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Spurs: Is Coach Popovich tanking, trolling, or both?

San Antonio Spurs Gregg Popovich
San Antonio Spurs Gregg Popovich / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages
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San Antonio Spurs
Boban Marjanovic, Doug McDermott, Bryn Forbes / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages

3. The Spurs' late-game issues

Without a true established closer, the Spurs are going to struggle to close out most games -- that's just the nature of having this roster. Still, the players aren't the only ones to blame.

Doug McDermott was having a miserable time on defense, particularly in the fourth quarter. The Mavericks were repeatedly switching him onto Jalen Brunson, which led to a flurry of points from everywhere on the court. Yet he remained in the game despite being non-existent offensively as well. This isn't an attack on Doug -- it was his first game back after an injury, after all.

But I can't help but think Brunson at least could've faced more resistance with a fresher Lonnie Walker on him late in the game. Instead, Popovich waited until there were exactly 10 seconds left in the game to put in Walker -- who immediately hit a three. This is where I start to think to myself, is Coach Pop just trolling us?

Then, Jason Kidd's Mavericks tried their best to give away the game with Brunson's two missed free throws and 2.7 seconds left. You probably want to have one of your better passers inbound the ball when down by one, right? Instead, Keldon Johnson launches a prayer that almost goes out of bounds, and it's ball game. Another puzzling choice.

Next. 3 Spurs who might get traded or cut. dark

Do I think every loss is the fault of one man or one player? Of course not, but it's hard to just brush past this one as anything but preventable. I'm starting to wonder about the motivation behind some of these decisions, and I'm not the only one.

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