Pop’s surrender: Right move for Spurs

HOUSTON – At one time or another, just about everyone has had the facts-of-life talk.

Tim Duncan and Spurs fans got the facts-of-life message from Gregg Popovich on Thursday night at the Toyota Center and spent the entire second half of a 105-85 loss to the Rockets sitting on the bench.

And it was the right thing to do.

“Down 18, third game in four nights, on the road,” Popovich said. “We weren’t playing well. I’m not sure how many times I want to be down 18 in this shortened season and work Timmy, Manu (Ginobili) and Tony (Parker) to work us out of that hole. Not this early in the season.

“Later on, depending on our situation, it might make more sense. But at this point, it was a great opportunity to treat it like training camp and get a lot of the younger kids out there and treat it like a practice.”

Duncan also happened to shoot 1-for-8 and grabbed just one rebound in the first half as the Spurs were falling behind 53-35.

But the Big Fundamental’s 15 ½ minutes of playing time had less to do with in his ineffectiveness than the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it schedule that just never stops. When the Spurs get back home to play the Jazz on New Year’s Eve, it will be the first of six games in nine nights.

So especially on a team where Duncan is 35 and Ginobili is 34, discretion will have to sometimes be the better part of valor this season. It’s just one more of the twists and turns in the unusual 66-game, jam-packed season that everyone – players, coaches and fans – is going to have to learn to accept.

“In a season like this one, I’m not gonna say you’ll see it very often, but kinda often,” Ginobili said. “It’s really hard to send everybody to make a huge effort that you’re not sure is gonna pay back. Then we have the games on the 31st, the 2nd and then back-to-back. You have to be smart and just let it go and think about the next one.”

Down the hall in the other locker room sat the Rockets’ Kyle Lowry, who was one rebound and two assists short of his second career triple-double entering the fourth quarter. But he never got off the bench in the final period because the Rockets were playing the first of three games in three nights and coach Kevin McHale wanted to keep him fresh.

Sitting for success. Get used to it.


  1. willie says:

    they were the champions during the previous lockout season with pop as the coach…. he definitely knows what he’s doing

  2. ChrisTx says:

    “just cannot go with the ultra athletic big men of the modern game e.g. Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin, LeMarcus Aldridge and Amare Stoudamire just to name a few”. I agree to this from a physical point of view to a degree.

    None of these players that was listed is a true leader and have the BBIQ as Mr. Duncan so when he is in court he still make everyone around him look good and the other team still respect him.

    I agree Timmy clock is ticking but I would not call him done.

    Even if Timmy is no longer putting up 20 points to 15 rebounds per game, being in the court and showing leadership and helping the city of SA is a good thing.

    Chris in Houston and big fan of SPURS

  3. Cedric says:

    I am a big Spurs fan and i don’t know why they have not got another big man yet.They new they needed another big when Dave left so i don’t know what they are waiting for.I’m going to say Tim will play one or two more years and that’s it because he does not look to well on the floor.But in the first three games he has not plyed that much.Spurs you need to go after D howard please or some one.

  4. ian albaran says:

    Good job! its still early in the season and it would be very practical and safe if we rest some of our veteran guys in this kind of situations. coach pop is an expert. he knows all things and can easily predict an outcome of a game. he knows whats the best for his team… and besides.. this is the san antonio spurs.. a championship caliber team. we all know that spurs will be heading to playoffs once again… then there where the real battle begins! 🙂

  5. Toro says:

    This season makes the game very intensive indeed and brings lot of fun to fans but the side effect of that schedule is that many teams have to calculate the win/loss even from the beginning of the season which for most part of fans is uncommon situation in the NBA, where amazing happens. Even the previous lock-out didn’t affect the game that far as I remeber. It’s a little bit sad to hear articles like this…

  6. cory says:

    i couldnt of put this any better i love you NBA and i missed you haha ……

  7. joblagz says:

    health is more important than stats.. good job on the coaching staff..

  8. Boxhead says:

    I’ll start by saying that I am a HUGE fan of Tim Duncan. Future hall of famer, one of the greatest of all time and arguably the greatest PF/C in the history of the game.
    Age has hit this guy like a freight train, has lost touch with the pace of the game and just cannot go with the ultra athletic big men of the modern game e.g. Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin, LeMarcus Aldridge and Amare Stoudamire just to name a few. I think both he and the current Spurs administration need to face facts and call it quits after next season, I don’t think anyone wants to see one of the true greats of our time leave the game in this manner.

    • Boxhead says:

      Also, would not surprise me if he came out and said he was carrying a serious injury the past few seasons, looks to have really slowed down and then there was that story that he dropped a few pounds “to help with his game”???? Seems fishy to me.