McDyess: No regrets about time with Spurs

By Mike Monroe

Sitting at his locker an hour before what became the final game of his 16-year NBA career, Spurs power forward Antonio McDyess winced.

He was trying to maneuver his back into a position that eased the twinge he still felt on the left side of his neck and down his left shoulder and arm — the result of a Game 3 injury that had left his arm totally numb.

Seeing his quest for comfort, a teammate asked the team’s oldest player how he felt.

“Not great,” McDyess replied.

Later, Grizzlies star Zach Randolph would lay an elbow to McDyess’ head and make things even worse, and force him to the bench to receive attention from the team’s medical staff.

As he stashed the last items from the locker in a travel bag, McDyess reflected on his two seasons in San Antonio, adamant he had made up his mind to retire and without regret for having chosen the Spurs over other teams that vied for his services in the summer of 2009.

“This was not at all how I wanted it to end, but signing here was one of the best things I did in my career,” he said. “I wouldn’t trade these two years for the world, one of the greatest times of my whole career. I just wish we would have gone farther.”

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is going to miss McDyess, as a player and person, but will respect his decision.

“We’re not going to fight him,” Popovich said. “If he does retire, as much as a player, we would miss him more as a person. He’s one of the finest human beings I’ve ever been associated with. He commands huge, huge buckets of respect from his teammates, just from the way he conducts himself. He’s just a wonderful man. So if he does retire, we’ll really miss him in that leadership role.”

The highlight of McDyess’ final season in silver and black was a buzzer-beating tip-in that gave the Spurs an 89-88 victory over the Lakers at the Staples Center on Feb. 3.

His final basket as a Spur, a perfect 20-foot jumper from the top of the key, gave his team its only lead of the second half of Friday’s elimination game in Memphis.

“This was one of the most enjoyable seasons I’ve ever had but disappointing we couldn’t go farther than the first round,” McDyess said.

When the Spurs were blown out in Game 4 at Memphis, he called out his teammates for being timid, including himself.

“I think that first game at home kind of set the tone for the whole series,” he said. “We weren’t aggressive, and the Grizzlies were ready to play us, and we should have taken that to heart when they said they wanted to play us. They came out exactly like a team that wanted to play us, and we were just taking their punches and weren’t coming back at them.”

INCREDIBLE, SHRINKING R.J.: After making 44 percent of his 3-point shots and averaging 11.0 points per game, starting small forward Richard Jefferson was benched for the entire second half of Friday’s Game 6 — scoreless for the second time in the series.

After making 5 of 9 3-pointers in Games 1 and 2, Jefferson made only one of his next eight. He averaged just 6.5 points in the series and by its end was strictly a spectator. He played only 10 minutes and 13 seconds of Game 6 — all in the first half.

Only seven times in his 10 seasons had Jefferson failed to score, and two of those came in the series against the Grizzlies.

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