Popovich Roasts Spurs: ‘We Were An Embarrassment’

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — This hasn’t always been the case, but there is no shame in losing to the Los Angeles Clippers these days. They are among the NBA elite and one of the few squads capable of going into San Antonio and dropping the hometown team on a given night.

Just don’t tell that to Spurs coach Gregg Popovich (above), whose choice words for his team after Monday night’s 92-87 loss could not be confused. Not only did his Spurs lose, but Popovich roasted them for an uneven effort against a fellow Western Conference contender in a way that only a couple of his peers (Doc Rivers and George Karl, maybe) could do without offending the sensibilities of the whole locker room.

And even if he did set off a few alarms in his locker room with his comments, Popovich has the resume (not to mention the game tape) to back up his words.

“Of all of our games, this is in the soft category,” he said calmly. “We never had five guys that competed hard enough to win the basketball game, the Clippers took it with their aggressiveness and toughness, both mentally and physically. And I thought for a portion of that game we were an embarrassment. So we’ve got to look at that and look at the film and make sure everybody understands that this is a game that has to be played with competitiveness for 48 minutes. And that’s the bottom line.”

This is the second time this season the Clippers have staggered the mighty Spurs, so maybe Popovich senses that this is more than just a bad night. The Clippers wore them out 106-84 two weeks ago today at Staples Center. Last night’s win provided the Clippers with multiple wins over the Spurs in the same season for the first time since the 1996-97 season. That fact no doubt irks Popovich even more, especially considering these two could see each other down the line somewhere … perhaps even in the postseason.

Maybe he was trying to make sure Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan recognize the threat that the Clippers have become with Chris Paul at the helm?

“They are legit,” Popovich said of the Clippers before the game.

In his team’s defense, the Spurs did lose Stephen Jackson to a broken finger (he’s expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks). And Kawhi Leonard (quadriceps tendinitis) wasn’t available.

But that still doesn’t explain the Spurs’ second quarter meltdown that saw the Clippers outscore them 29-14 as the Spurs shot a putrid 3-for-8 from the floor and committed seven turnovers.

That might be the stretch of “embarrassment” Popovich referred to.

All that said, the Spurs are a healthy 8-3 on the season and have handed out their fair share of beatings. But 11 games seems like more than enough time for Popovich to formulate a properly nuanced message or two for his team in regards to where they stand against the rest of the best in the Western Conference.


  1. rocks says:

    After the regular season flakers will go fishing with th kings, clippers is the new team in southern california.

  2. jerr says:

    lakers is past and obsolete team this is the same team compose of bryant, malone, payton and shaq, who lost to piston. kobe last night played like a point guard and a shooting guard in the last minute to poor brooklyn team. a ballhogging again i won’t be surprise if dwight will leave after ths season. lol!

  3. NICK SILVA says:

    KOBE , PAU ,MWP, HOWARD, MORRIS lol look pretty good wait till STEVE comes back and im not talking about BLAKE that guy makes the team worst. finals guaranteed im not saying a championship but definantly FINALS so forget about the L.A. FLOPPERS its all about the lakers in the west . also the other team that i am predicting to make a big push for the west is MEMPHIS they are LEGIT.

  4. jeryy says:

    lakers first unit is a dream team, the second unit is as good as high school basketball team, can their dream team play the whole year without injury, the clippers has two starting units this season take note this season. and they already beat the lakers 2x including the preseason 2x the spurs, miami memphis all potential playoff team, how about the lakers, oh yeah they beat the kings, piston suns who else. lol!

  5. lafan says:

    How many championships have the Spurs won???? 4 and not since 2007.
    Lakers 16, won one just two years ago. Are Spurs really in the same league??

  6. kutz says:

    lakers 16 times nba world champions… clippers 0..

    • Marco29 says:

      Right, but we are talking about 12-13 season, not NBA history. For now, the Clippers look more like a contender than the Lakers. But, lets see if the Lakers change with MDA.

  7. Spurs Fan says:

    I believe that the NBA has already determined what teams will be matched up in the finals. The spurs were on a 20 game winning streak including the playoffs. If you watched the Conf. Finals you can clearly watch how the refs turned on the spurs on almost every play the last couple of minutes. I give the Thunder credit for being a great team but my spurs were robbed of a fair chance. Evidence of the Thunder getting whooped by the Heat. They didn’t belong there, they weren’t ready. The same happened to Lebron and the cavs in ’07. Swept by the Spurs. Rasheed said he felt the NBA wanted to see Lebron in the finals. Ratings = $ Millions. I’m afraid small markets will always pay the price. Spurs had to earn their 4 championships.

  8. cedric says:

    When the Spurs get another big man to help out they will be the best team in the NBA. David Robinsonh has been gone for ten years and they no that TD needs help so go and get what you need and stop waisting Td last years.Spurs Fan for life GO Spurs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Sarge says:

      Man, I’d love to agree with you, but big men of the caliber of Robinson don’t exactly grow on trees. Not without sacrificing pretty much the entire team, and that won’t help Duncan get his fifth.

  9. daviedave59 says:

    Officiating had nothing to do with it? The refs were HORRIBLE. They practically gave the game to the Clippers every chance possible. It was a circus. Clippers don’t win this game if refs didn’t screw the Spurs over… over and over again.

  10. FreeJack says:

    With two Clippers starters on the bench in Billups and Butler, Grant Hill still wearing a suit to the sidelines…and the Spurs couldn’t stop them. This team is for real.

  11. bobby says:

    i’m a spurs fan and even i have to admit that the clippers are a dangerous team.

  12. Spurs says:

    people already jumping to conclusions about the spurs lol! come on we had no Kawhi, and Jackson got hurt too. we’re playing without a true SF and thats hurting us but come playoff time Spurs are always in the mix for a championship. people just like saying the spurs are too old but time and time again we come back, its too early in the season to even be concerned

  13. ko0kie says:

    so who gets another ring? Tim Duncan or Kobe Bryant ? I predict: none of them..

  14. Lakers4Seven says:

    It’s time for the old Spurs to retire and their old coach too.

    • Frank says:

      The Lakers are just as old if not older than the Spurs

    • Sarge says:

      I have the same sentiment as Frank. Look at your team. Look at their ages. Closely. If I’m doing my math right, the Spurs are 27.93 years old, roughly. As for the Lakers… huh. Look at that. 28.33 years old. Interesting.

    • John M says:

      That makes no sense. Michael Jordan, Reggie Miller, Shaq, Olajuwon, Barkley, Stockton, Kidd, Nash, Chamberlain, Baylor, every one of them played until 38, 39 or even into their 40s (easy to look up if you doubt). So why should Duncan retire now at 36 or Ginobili at 34, or do you want Parker to retire at 30? Try to think through before you post something juvenille about a great Championship team that plays at a higher level as a team still than any other NBA team night in night out.

  15. Brian says:

    Honestly the Spurs have not even begun to play near the level they are capable of, while Memphis and Clippers seem to make so many plays that are not sustainable throughout the season. If I were the Spurs I would not be least worried, they’ll be just fine.

    • Hm says:

      What are these unsustainable plays you’re referring to?

      For the Clippers, it can’t be the minutes, because they all average under 33 minutes so far. The Grizzlies might have a few players over 33 though.

  16. Pablo says:

    Nobody has time to read up but last wed vs clips 4 spurs including parker and duncan had the flu. duncan played. we got embarased on their court. next was ny. horrible game. refs need to be looked at closly by us nba fans. it was clear they didnt want spurs to win. last night vs clips WAS the wake up call. kwai being out and then jack breaking finger added to the horrible game from parker and gino= the loss. This league is all about timing. With the sicknesses and manu not practicing with team at the start of the season, its clear to see why SA has been losing. 70 sum odd games left and i wouldnt count SA out… they still have that potential to be the best offensive team that we saw for the past 2 yrs….and never count manu out

  17. Larian1983 says:

    Last year, the Clippers had an historical accomplishment by adding CP3, and sign borderline stars, then getting into to the second round of the playoffs and get swept by the Spurs. This is one of the best Clippers seasons, they should hang their second exit banner in Staple center, just so they have something to show the other team in LA.

  18. Pgulinp1 says:

    when you say spurs don’t have a chance for championship- it only means you are total retard and don’t know anything about basketball. they already have 3 champioships with this roster, they are kind a old but rest of teams are not any younger, and we alredy saw that they can take down OKC this year, Green and Leonard are better this year…

    about a clippers… they looked really impressive last year too and then they chocked in playoff so …. don’t trow a championship party after 10 games

    lakers will be great onece they start to play as team
    okc is not that good without harden …
    memphis looks great
    denver will rise only and just only – if they give McGee more then 20 min per game i know he have asthma but he can play 30 min… he is really good this year ( for real !! )

    on east u have miami – they become 3 point team – that can hurt them in playoff, knicks are great , boston will be just fine

  19. Larian1983 says:

    Man, why is it always the other team in LA winning all the championships, but not the so called better team in LA?

  20. CP3toStayinLA says:

    The Clips are just too deep this year. Against the Spurs last night Caron Butler got hurt and left in the 1st quarter, and the Clippers still won! When guys like Chauncey Billups and Grant Hill are healthy, I mean what team will have he depth to match the Clippers depth? The Clips basically have 2 starting line-ups, not just 1.

    If they stay healthy, the Clippers can definitely win it all this season!

    • Sarge says:

      I’d say the same is true for the Spurs. They need Kawhi and Stephen Jackson out there. Otherwise they’re short on rebounding at the wings, and that really hurt them last night.

  21. jose machado says:

    the same feeling here, Clippers can beat any team on nba, now the spurs got to add something brilliant to this team or the playoffs could be again uncertainty, 1st round?! let´s see and find what they´ll be able to do, the other LA team just have to let them ride like this.

  22. JO says:

    The clippers are a good team. But at the end of the day, we all know they will not make it to the NBA finals. They have to go through the LAL, whom, althought seem inadequete right now, well become one of the best, if not the best in the west. Plus there is OKC, with their athleticism and talent. Plus they have made it to the NBA finals. Personally as long as Kobe is still around in LA, the clippers will always be second to them.

    • Common Sense says:

      Clippers players will always be second to Kobe, but the TEAM is not fighting for Laker fans. Laker fans were won by Kareem, Magic, Green, Worthy, Cooper, Scott, and the list goes on… Kobe didn’t make Laker fans, he kept them. Clippers never really had fans, they are bringing new people to the NBA and making new fans. No matter how good the Clippers become, even with 6 Championships in a row, this will always be Laker town because they have the history of LA, it has little to nothing to do with Kobe. It’s just like USC. Even though the Bruins are the better team this year, the city refuses to acknowledge it. It’s an old money town and no matter how much money the Clippers bring in, it’s not about the amount of money, it’s about how old it is. But you are right…but Kobe won’t be here much longer…

  23. Marco29 says:

    Sure the Clippers are very legit ans I think a serious contender in the West but the issue as Pop says is that the Spurs have not been playing very well since the season opener. They won the game they were supposed to win, were pretty lucky to beat LAL and lost against LAC and Memphis. They have not been able to raise their game level against other contenders because apart from Duncan and Neal, no other player has been playing consistentlty since the beginning of the season. Manu had only one good game and Parker is up and down from one game to the other while it is supposed to be his team now. The rest of the crew, Diaw, Splitter, Jax, Kawhi are also on alternative current. They need to be more constistent all together and work harder on D.
    As for the postseason, I think is not fair to say the Spurs have no chance. They will be ready to fight, have the depth and experience on and off the court and will be hard to beat even for LAL or OKC.
    Forever Spurs fan!
    GO SPURS GO!!!

    • Common Sense says:

      Crazy. The Spurs are fully legit and have been playing great. They lost to Memphis who are on fire and the clippers twice who have a bench that people are rivaling against other starting fives and then we all know about Paul, Griffin, Jordan(who Shaq said was the best center in the West), Butler and Green, with Chauncey and Hill waiting in the wings. I understand Pop getting angry, he loves his team, he knows what they can do, and he expects nothing but greatness, that is a sign of a true leader, but the Spurs are playing great basketball. Memphis and LAC are just playing better right now. But remember the season is not a sprint, its a marathon and Duncan averages a double double over 16 or 17 seasons for a reason. They are consistent group and they right their course. But LAC and Memphis are on fire. By the way, a lot of the Spurs wins are on the road. GO NBA GO!

      • Marco29 says:

        Of course the Spurs are legit, I never said otherwise. But besides their current record, they need to imrpove collectively and be able to play at a high level all together, not only Duncan and sometimes Parker or Ginobili. Also, I guess Pop is not happy with the defense (over 100 points allowed in average in their 3 losses while they allowed less than 92 points/ game in the 8 games they won).
        Maybe I love the Sprus too much and I am also too demanding but I think they could improve and beat teams like the Clippers and Memphis even though they are hot. They will have to if they want to beat those teams in the Postseason.

      • hahahahaha……. and you believe Shaq? he know nothing about a true Nba Center…….. the only reason why he said that is because he does not like HOWARD cuz he and we all know that howard is the best center in this new generation… so he start saying things that could disapoint Howard and to mess his games

  24. Beach we gbe says:

    Drop it on the spurs! Make it nasty! Clips! Make it nasty! chris Paul with the ball make it nasty! Blake griffin in the kitchen make it nasty!

  25. RJ says:

    Great coach. Wait and see how a team like the Spurs responds to a coach like Pop. It’s not emotion talking, it’s the concern of a head coach with enough forsight to know his players have much more to give. If only the Cowboys had a leader like that!

  26. E-SY says:

    I’d like to see those Spurs fall to the Clippers any night! Not because they are that bad, but the Clips are that good nowadays! They can beat every team in the league right now, and I’m looking forward to seeing them do just that!

  27. Ro says:

    I think he wrote that the Spurs are now 8-3 mate, after the loss. Clips are legit, you dont just fluke 2 wins against the Spurs. Especially so close together. They’re still a long way off taking down the West’s elite in a 7-game series, but im becoming a Clipper fan! As long as they beat the other LA team i’ll be happy

  28. charles says:

    we’re treating the Spurs like they are anything but a regular season threat. They have no shot at an NBA championship. None. They just don’t have the athletes to compete. They are too old, too slow. Yes, that works in the regular season to use your wiles and experience. But in the post season, it’s not about thinking but reacting and you’re playing the same team over and over again. You get to know the personalities, their tactics, and tricks. Spurs are just not structured to win the championship. In a 5 game series, if SAS play Memphis, OKC, LAL, LAC, or Denver – they are most likely to lose.

    • Sam says:

      Well just goes to show that u dint c last years playoffs….. This is the same team that had 10 straight victories in the playoffs before losing…… They are an ageless refined experienced bunch with a brilliant record to start this season…..

    • John says:

      I agree. The Spurs are not a championship threat because they are too old. Likewise, the Lakers aren’t a championship threat because they are even older than the Spurs. Nash has already gone down to injuries, and who knows how old man Kobe will hold up through an 82 game season.

    • Fo Real says:

      they got denver beat but memphis is who they gotta worry about

    • Sarge says:

      Look, I’m under no illusions that the window for the Spurs is incredibly small. But this mantra that keeps getting repeated, over and over, that the Spurs are simply a regular season team, has to stop. I might remind everyone that they _did_ make it to the WCF last year, and won two games against OKC before falling off the cliff, and quite a few of the games they lost were very, very tight contests. To pretend that they have no shot is absurd.

      Also, the Spurs matched up well with the Lakers last year. Whether that dynamic changes substantially with D’Antoni, Nash, and Howard in the mix remains to be seen. And if the Spurs aren’t structured to win a championship, then neither are the Nuggets.

      Again, not saying the Spurs don’t have a smaller window than a few other teams, but they’re definitely in the hunt.

    • KC says:

      They had a real shot at beating OKC last year, and OKC had a chance in the finals against Miami. At least, that seemed to be the case in the games I watched. Everyone’s opinion is going to be different. After two wins to lead that Spurs-Thunder series, people were saying that Spurs were executing “surgically” (Kenny?). The Spurs just fell short, but they had a real chance. To say that they had NO chance belies their actual performance on the court against OKC.

      Unless, you’re saying OKC had no chance against Miami. Which would just be silly.

    • Joaquin says:

      Its is exactly the other way around. Athleticism gets you going on the regular season, but you need veterans, leadership and experience to win in the playoffs

      • Marco29 says:

        That’s right. You don’t win a best of 7 series only with athletism. You need BB IQ and be able to make adjustments. Otherwise the Jazz or the Clippers would have beaten the Spurs last year. OKC beat them when they adjusted after the first 2 losses and had Sepholosha gard Parker. Spurs still are a contender in the West.

  29. glee says:

    Correction: Clippers are 8-2

    • kutz says:

      i dont care clippers are perennial losers haha

      • Legs says:

        Kutz honey…keep watching – I guess you are a Lakers fan… The Clippers are for real…so you all had better sit up and pay attention!!!!

      • Common Sense says:

        people are so funny about past. This entire clippers team, has only had a clippers jersey on for a couple years, 4 at the most. The clippers could be the losing franchise with a winning team. Look at Oklahoma, let’s not forget they were Seattle before. Miami was nothing until they were something. This loser talk is so anti NBA. Technically every team is a perennial loser except the spurs, lakers, celtics, and now miami. These comments scream fair weather, band wagon fan to me. True basketball fans give credit where credit is due. Like football fans that still think you USC is better than UCLA’s football team this year. Give it up. Sometimes the underdog does well. The more credit you give them when they are winning, the more respect you get when they lose and your team wins. Being a sore winner is worse than a sore loser.

      • Game Time says:

        Kutz must be a Laker fan who’s finally coming back on these blogs now that his team is finally at .500.

    • LePiv says:

      Correction to what???