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Popovich calls Spurs soft and an “embarrassment” after loss

Nov 20, 2012, 12:58 PM EDT

Gregg Popovich AP

When it’s a grind-it-out game, the Spurs usually win. They expect to win.

But Monday night the Clippers went into San Antonio, had an off night from their leading scorer (Jamal Crawford), had banged up starters, got into a defensive struggle and won. The Clippers ground down the Spurs, played good defense and made the big shots late. They out-Spurred the Spurs.

And Gregg Popovich didn’t like it. Not one bit.

He ripped into his team like he was Randy Wittman. Here are Pop’s comments, NBA.com.

“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.”

Losing to the Clippers is no embarrassment — they are playing as well as anyone in the NBA so far this season. They always had offensive firepower, but now they are defending and that should scare the other top teams in the West.

And Popovich knows what he’s doing here, he’s playing a game. He says this in the media to light a fire under his team when he thinks they are losing focus. The same way Phil Jackson and countless other smart coaches have done.

The Spurs are still 8-3 on the season, they are still executing, they are still near the top of the West. But sometimes they need jolt to keep going, so Popovich went to the media whip. And we’re happy to do our part and help out.

  1. jimsjam33 - Nov 20, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    Pop is right . There’s an awful lot of NBA teams that are going to be embarrassed and play soft against the Clippers this year . Barring injuries , the Clippers win the NBA championship this year . They are no fluke !

  2. goraidersgospurs - Nov 20, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    I agree with the man!!!

  3. misterdreamer119 - Nov 20, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    Pop your team is over spurs will not see the finals anymore.

    • leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Nov 20, 2012 at 1:48 PM

      What an appropriate user name for this post.

  4. fanz928 - Nov 20, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    Maybe your team would be better if they didn’t average 35+ aged players

    • savvybynature - Nov 20, 2012 at 6:54 PM

      Actually, the Clips have as many players on their roster 35 or older as the Spurs do.

      So, you’re an idiot.

      • abchome - Nov 21, 2012 at 1:08 AM

        The Clippers are one of the oldests team in terms of average age, but they have a much younger core though – Griffin (23), Paul (27), Jordan (24), Bledsoe (22).

  5. misterdreamer119 - Nov 20, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Yo Leroy, yo Leroy.

  6. dls612 - Nov 20, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Not a spurs fan but i luv this guy! Like to have been there when he told them that and I’m sure he did and not so mildly!

  7. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Nov 20, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    When Pop speaks that way, the Spurs better listen.

    And they will.

    I don’t buy that “the Spurs are old” rubbish.

    They’ve been “old” for a number of seasons already and yet they shame the “younger” teams MOST of the time. (Too bad they lost to the Thunder. I rooted for the Spurs in that series but I liked how OKC matured and got into the Finals coming from an 0-2 start) Props to Pops for having his “old” Spurs beat Father Time season in season out.

  8. savvybynature - Nov 20, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    The Spurs likely would have won that game if they had any small forwards left (both are out due to injury). The Spurs’ starters actually dominated the Clippers’ starters, and Matt Barnes (a small forward, no surprise) had the best game for the Clips.

    Smart comment from Pop though. Tough road trip coming up being down a couple key players, so he needs his guys fired up.

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