The San Antonio Spurs defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 116-95 last night to advance to the Western Conference playoff semi-finals, but, crucially for opposing coach Dave Joerger, they ended Memphis' campaign.
It's a tough one for the Grizzlies to take. No one ever wants to get swept in a playoff series, but to have to battle on without their franchise pillar in Marc Gasol in amongst many other injuries throughout the series and climax of the regular season has been an ordeal in itself.
Facing a franchise that finished the regular season 67-15 without their full complement was always going to be tough for the Grizzlies. Despite the crushing series blowout, Joerger faced the press following last night's loss and offered his emotional thoughts on his troops never giving up.
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As you can see in the video, Joerger is unable to tackle any more questions following his little breakdown. Sometimes, videos like this one can go viral, where people make fun of a man's emotions or belittle them for crying.
On this occasion, everyone from around the NBA can appreciate the Grizzlies' struggles over the past few months and there's certainly no shame in how much the victory hurt the 42-year-old.
"These guys fought. I can't tell you enough how proud I am of every guy that is in that locker room and has come through that locker room. This season's been hard. It's been really hard. And they could've quit—could've quit. Could've not made the playoffs. And every day, they came out, and they fought like crazy."
As Joerger composed himself and prepared to exit, he chuckled and said, "This was not planned."
After being with the Grizzlies for nine years - first off as an assistant - Joerger is by all accounts a company man. He had every right to praise his team for their effort, especially considering how depleted they really were.
The Spurs are amongst the top favourites to make it to the NBA Finals, if not win the whole thing. The second seeds will now face either the Dallas Mavericks or the Oklahoma City Thunder in the next round as they look to set up a date with the Golden State Warriors - who also currently lead the Houston Rockets 3-1 in their series - in the Conference Finals.
Unsurprisingly, the back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year, Kawhi Leonard, was the star of the show again. The 24-year-old Spurs forward poured in a team-high 21 points and collected seven rebounds en route to a game four victory.
For Memphis, Lance Stephenson put up 26 points worth of resistence from the bench, while Matt Barnes, Vince Carter and Zach Randolph contributed another 44 between them.