Popovich spurs San Antonio to Game 1 win
With the Spurs in danger of dropping the first game of the Western Conference finals, and with it the
home-court edge, coach Gregg Popovich called for his troops to get “nasty.”
Popovich prodded them to defend, take good shots and fight. He wanted them to play like the Spurs team
that’s gone undefeated for 19 games stretching back more than six weeks. They did just that.
San Antonio turned a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter into a 10-point lead on its way to a 101-
98 victory over Oklahoma City. Game 2 is Tuesday night.
The Coach of the Year’s battle cry might not be the difference in a series expected to be close. But it
was Sunday night.
“He just wanted to make sure we played with a lot more energy,” said Tony Parker, who scored 18. “When
he says that, he just wants to make sure we matched the passion and the energy that Oklahoma was playing
“They were playing with a lot more energy than us in the third quarter. And we were like hesitating a
little bit. I think that comes with, like, not playing for a week, and in the fourth quarter we came back
and we responded.”
San Antonio outscored Oklahoma City 39-27 in the fourth. The Spurs had managed only 16 points in the
“Pop is always going to try to motivate us,” Parker said. “We knew as a team we were not playing our
best basketball in the third quarter.”