"It's painful to watch," said Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol.
"It's an awful situation that we're in," Grizz guard Tony Allen said.
Those were responses after Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, which marked the ninth playoff ever for the Grizzlies. The team was hoping to make history. They wanted to defeat the Spurs in Game 4 to keep the run going. They wanted to win Games 5 and 6 and 7 to move on to battle for a championship.
The Spurs won that game and went on to sweep the Grizzlies out of the NBA Playoffs. No one, however, can deny that the Grizzlies put up a good fight to reach a place where they've never gone before. The series marked the third time Memphis has squared off with San Antonio in the postseason (2004, 0-4 and 2011, 4-2).
The Grizzlies made history in 2013.
The season was not painful. The ending was just somber and only because no one wanted to see it come to an end. The players yearned to bring the city of Memphis a championship. It just didn't happen this season.
But what fans can embrace is the fact that progress was made despite the curve balls that were thrown. The team was taken over by new owners. A key starter and three bench players were all traded off. Yet, the Grizzlies regrouped and advanced to fight for the prize.
The Grizzlies' post season concluded after 15 games with eight wins (Clippers 4-2, Thunder 4-1 and Spurs 0-4). In the last two post seasons, the Grizzlies were eliminated by the Thunder (2011) and the Clippers (2012).
Memphis has faced five franchises during its playoff history (San Antonio, Phoenix, Dallas, Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Clippers).
During the playoffs, fans experienced grit and grind before the team exhausted their possibilities on May 27, ending their most successful season in franchise history.
Now comes the waiting period to learn if Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins will coach the team next year. Another concern is Allen's fate as a Memphis Grizzly. Fans are also wondering about Grizzlies guard Jerryd Bayless' future and if he will remain for next season.
Hollins and Allen have said they would like to stay in Memphis. Bayless said he's open to it.
The Grizzlies have not signed Hollins to a new contract and other teams have expressed interest. He is not allowed to speak with other teams until July 1.
Finding more integral players to fit into the scheme of the team is pivotal. More shooters? Sure. But Hollins has said that he is in search of more than just shooters. He's looking for guys who can make plays.
Grizz Note: The Memphis Grizzlies will be among the 22 teams that will compete in the NBA Summer League 2013 in Las Vegas this summer, the NBA announced on Wednesday. It marks the sixth time (2007-10, 2012-13) that Memphis will take part in the event.