With the Utah Jazz out of the way, clinically dispatched with four consecutive easy wins, the San Antonio Spurs can now turn their attention to the second round of the Western Conference playoffs.
The opponent will be either the Los Angeles Clippers or the Memphis Grizzlies. Either Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, or Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph. The Spurs have set themselves up for possibly a long rest, with those two slugging it out.
To Gregg Popovich, it hardly matters.
"We have to get ourselves ready to play," Popovich said. "It depends on what happens in their series, but those are two great teams, and it will be tough either way."
San Antonio lost to Memphis in the first round last season, becoming a top seed casualty to an eighth seed. The Spurs, however, are a different bunch this season, deeper and more athletic.
The San Antonio mantra still exists, though: They play only for the next game, they don't look ahead and they have learned not to look past an opponent.
"We have to figure out how to play well and just take things one game at a time," Gary Neal said. "We're going to practice, look at some things and see how we can get better."
Manu Ginobili broke out a series-long funk, scoring a team-high 17 points. More importantly, he made his first trio of 3-pointers of the series in Monday's 87-81 clincher over the Jazz. He was 0-9 from beyond the arc coming into Game 4.
Reaching his peak
Popovich isn't one to easily hand out compliments. So it was news to hear him gush over Tony Parker, his all-star point guard, following the Spurs win.
"This is his best year since being in the league," Popovich said. "He's had some good ones. He was the MVP of the Finals one year, and he's playing better now than he did then."