May 28, 2014, 10:33 AM EST
The Spurs looked overwhelmed in their Game 4 loss to the Thunder, a rarity for this experienced San Antonio team.
Even more rare: Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich arguing – and that seemed to happen during the third quarter last night.
These exchanges aren’t always as they appear. We don’t know what was said, but it sure looks like Duncan jawed with Popovich and then Danny Green about defensive confusion.
The situation only got worse for San Antonio. Coming out of that timeout, the Thunder extended what had been a 4-1 run into a 14-1 run. At least the Spurs showed no further signs of dissension as they played out the ugly loss.
After the game, Popovich was asked about the incident with Duncan. Via ASAP Sports:
Q. The miscommunication that you had with Tim Duncan, what was that about, and also, were you happy with the way that your bench competed physically against them?
GREGG POPOVICH: I just said I was disappointed in our physicality.
Q. And the miscommunication between you and Duncan on the bench?
GREGG POPOVICH: I don’t know what you’re talking about. What do you mean miscommunication?
Q. It looked like he was going back and forth, arguing with what appeared to be you or someone else.
GREGG POPOVICH: I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about.
Popovich has coached Duncan for 17 years. I doubt this is the first time they didn’t see eye-to-eye. That they couldn’t keep bottle their issues until the cameras were off, though, suggests this dispute was a little more meaningful than others.
That said, I’d be shocked if one disagreement during the heat of competition – in the midst of an ugly loss, no less – cracks that 17-year base they have together.
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