Angry Pop: Spurs Don’t Have It Right Now

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HANG TIME  SOUTHWEST – Coach Pop dropped some strong language on his team Saturday night.

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is not an easy man to please and he was rather disgusted when reporters gathered to hear his assessment of the game. A game the Spurs won 99-97. Against the East’s sixth-seeded playoff team. And did so without Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

Upset that his team nearly coughed up a late lead at home, and annoyed by its general lackluster play other than Tim Duncan‘s huge night (31 points, 14 rebounds, four blocks and three assists) and Kawhi Leonard‘s second consecutive 20-point game (23 points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks), Pop, whose club is 4-4 in its last eight and lost its grip Thursday night on the West’s No. 1 seed, put out this warning flare:

“Other than Timmy, in a lot of ways, it was a pathetic performance. That kind of play isn’t going to get us very far. And it’s not the first time we’ve played like that in the last few weeks. This team needs to get its head around itself and understand what it takes to be there because as a group, they don’t have it right now.”

The bluster  was a reminder of one of Pop’s more memorable playoff sound-offs when, following a 100-94 Game 1 loss at Dallas in the 2010 first round series the Spurs would win in six games, he said: “We’ve got to have a few more people step up and play worth a damn. I thought we had a lot of guys that played like dogs.”

Or the line that became an instant YouTube classic from last year’s West finals opener against Oklahoma City when, miked-up during a timeout on the TNT broadcast, Pop sarcastically asked his struggling team if they were having fun yet, and then implored: “I want some nasty!”

Saturday’s rant won’t go viral or become a T-shirt slogan, but he did let his disgust be known to a team that outside of Duncan, in terms of players that actually took the court against the Hawks, exactly one owns a Spurs championship ring: Matt Bonner.

It’s been six years since the Spurs swept LeBron’s James‘ Cleveland Cavaliers. How time flies. And don’t think Pop, who has witnessed this Big Three grow older and suffer a litany of ill-timed injuries, doesn’t know this.

And now time is running out on this regular season, the franchise’s 15th in a row with 50 wins. San Antonio is headed for a 16th consecutive playoff appearance with hopes of a fifth title pinned to the health of Parker and Ginobili.

They don’t want a repeat of 2011 when the eighth-seeded Grizzlies popped the Spurs and a less-than-optimal Ginobili, who injured his right elbow in the regular-season finale, missed Game 1 and then gutted through the rest of the six-game, first-round upset wearing a heavy elbow brace.

Ginobili, who missed his fifth consecutive game Saturday with a hamstring injury, might not be back for the start of the playoffs now just two weeks away. Parker is listed as day-to-day as he nurses multiple injuries. Two nights after he limped off the floor at Oklahoma City with Popovich saying afterward he was “very concerned” that Parker might be dealing with tendinitis in his shins, the team listed their All-Star point guard and top five MVP candidate as out of the Atlanta game with a neck injury.

Getting through the West won’t be easy, starting in the opening round when the Spurs’ most probable opponent will be either the young, but dangerous Houston Rockets, or the unpredictable, but star-laden and Kobe Bryant-driven Los Angeles Lakers.

“Playing like we did right now, no,” Duncan told reporters when asked if his team is playoff-ready. “Playing at the health level we were tonight, no. Luckily, we have a little while to try to get everybody back on the court.”

23 Comments

  1. NBA EYE says:

    Pop was to blame for last year’s collapse to OKC. He suddenly changes the lineup in the middle of the series and as a result made the whole team off balance. Hopefully he learned from that.

  2. Simon says:

    Im done….this article makes popovich look crazy….the hawks had al horford josh smith lou willams pachulia all out with injuries…..of course i woulda called out the team for almost losing the HAWKS BENCH!!!!

  3. Rory Anderson says:

    Let’s be honest, okay the Spurs aren’t getting any younger but the only one who has really looked like age is getting the better of is Manu and that is only because injury has ruined his season. Other than that both Parker and Duncan have been in contention for MVP at least once this season. And in terms of the future of Spurs, Leonard’s game will only improve the longer he is around (future hall-of-famers) Duncan and Parker. I believe Leonard can definitely be the face that leads the Spurs into more playoffs and possibly conference finals in the future.
    Only thing I have bad to say is that Thunder who are currently probably stronger than Spurs will get even better as they become experienced. If Spurs want to keep up with the Thunder they’re going to need a few good drafts in the next couple of years, and Pop tends to be good at doing that.

  4. arnold says:

    i still believe my man (manu) !! go spurs, odd year is ours ^^

  5. Edub says:

    Stephen Jackson didn’t play against the Hawks. Yeah he has a ring, but he did not step on the court vs the Hawks.

  6. Bob O says:

    I’m not sure I want to read this article given how poorly written the first two sentences are.

  7. sanjay says:

    spurs are old and cant challenge okc in a long series. And they also do not have variety. They pare way too predictable in their moves as indicated last year when they got figured out and walloped 4 in a row by okc( they got that in 2004 too by lakers)

    They have got younger bench but aging stars unlike miami which is other way around!

    okc are just 2 man team with westbrook on dope shooting all by himself( just dribble stop and shoot what is that?).
    Unless he is benched full game he wont learn and the coach does not have guts to do it! IF phil were there it would have happened long time ago. Unless he shares a ball and take less shots than durant, their fate wont change again in the finals where they are likely to meet much improved offensive heat again!

  8. Franz says:

    Let’s face it. Pop is right and is trying to get the best out of his team. It does not matter if we have players injured. LA or Houston will not feel sympathy towards us nor should we expect them to. It’s a good thing we are playing badly now and can improve before the playoff starts.

  9. AB from HB says:

    Having followed the Spurs closely for a long time, its clear thtat the frustration from Pop lies in the fact that thte team looks like its falling apart more than rounding into form, heading into the playoffs, particularly the role players inability to make plays with out their stars their to Falicitate EVERYTHING. The injuries have become a serious issue for their title hopes and have been stated over and over again as the Primary key to their success and making a championship run. Despite Miami’s dominance over the league since last May, any team playing championship caliber basketball in the playoffs is capable of winning( 2011 Mavs). Thats all you can hope for.

    For the last two years they have shown that they can play championship level basketaball that has impressed the press enough to actually give this aging team the credit it deserves, probably a little too much and way more than i am used to reading.

    Author was prob referring to 07 championship and who cares about a usesless 03 stat. Jacksons greatest value was shown in last years WCF when he drained all those 3′s in the elimination game. I hope he can show that form again.

  10. LebronKingOfNba says:

    that ironic moment when the spurs in their past few games are struggling to win against teams who’s superstars are out. remember that spurs are known or pop is known for benching his stars and still winning games or having close games on the road against other teams. that’s what just happened to spurs lately, beaten by miami at home without lebron and wade and then a close game against atlanta another at home. just irony

  11. John says:

    The problem here is the long season and Parker always constant motion going 180 percent it was bound to catch up with him. If a week or two rest can heal his ailments, TP will be ready and Spurs will be ready to pick up steam as playoffs progress.

  12. Chris says:

    They can still get a title this year if they remain Healthy. Spurs are a deadly team that is never going to go away. If Leonard is the future of the franchise I wonder who they’ll be putting around him, would be an interesting sight to see

  13. all fo heat says:

    what about the jazz they could still get in the playoffs even though the nba doesn’t want them to

  14. chon69 says:

    That is what I like about Pop, he doesn’t go easy on players just because they are stars. He says that they are alright when they’re good and horrible when they are bad. Go Spurs and coach Popovich!

  15. bryan says:

    Stephen Jackson has a Spurs championship ring.

  16. Pedram says:

    I think my fav. team Spurs would need a miracle to win NBA. again we may goodbye in the west finals, because our team is old.

  17. tony says:

    Fact Check. Didn’t Stephen Jackson take the court and he has a ring with SA.

  18. Gyu says:

    Respect.

  19. kyle.a says:

    Im pretty sure Stephen Jackson has a ring a Spurs ring at that

  20. Bob Slydell says:

    This always p*sses me off, when a team gets a big win and the coach and players are all saying “this was a huge disappointment to us all.” I remember the Bulls doing it the last couple years, too. I understand the value in improving, but you don’t need to be so publicly melodramatic and mopey when you’ve just won the game. Save it for the locker room, at the very least. I like Popovich as much as the next guy, but this kind of bugs me.

  21. Ken says:

    “Saturday’s rant won’t go viral or become a T-shirt slogan, but he did let his disgust be known to a team that outside of Duncan, in terms of players that actually took the court against the Hawks, exactly one owns a Spurs championship ring: Matt Bonner.”

    Don’t forget Stephen Jackson (2003). Let’s get healthy Spurs. GO SPURS GO!!!