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Now James has four MVPs, two Olympic golds and back-to-back titles on his resume. Duncan has been right so many times throughout his career. This time, it’s at his expense.

The questions begin now. Will Ginobili return? Can Duncan keep turning back the clock? And does the 64-year-old Popovich have another year left in him?

Parker chafed when asked if he thought this was the last run with this group.

“I can’t believe you’re asking that question,” Parker snapped. “It’s been five, six years you saying we’re too old, so I’m not going to answer that.”

Duncan said flatly that he will be back next season _ “I have a contract that says I am” _ and Ginobili said it was too soon to think about that.

“It’s not the moment,” Ginobili said. “I’m very disappointed, very upset. I really can’t say anything.”

The coach said, win or lose, he will take some time after the season to do some traveling and be with his family before he makes a decision. But he sure didn’t sound like the kind of guy who was pondering riding off into the sunset.

“After a little while just getting up when you want to in the morning and really not having challenges gets a little boring,” Popovich said before the game. “You can only grow so many tomatoes and read so many books. You want to get busy, get competitive again.

“When I stop feeling competitive around September, then I’ll hang it up.”

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