Gregg Popovich calls out Spurs’ effort after loss to the Lakers
The Spurs’ coach was not happy with his team’s performance Friday and he made it known after the game.
The San Antonio Spurs lost to the Los Angeles Lakers Friday, their third loss against a below .500 opponent in the last six games. San Antonio is trying to re-integrate Tony Parker and Tiago Splitter after injuries and was missing Kawhi Leonard, who was held off after hurting his hand against the Knicks Wednesday.
After a slow start, the Spurs managed to force overtime and it took a miracle shot from Nick Young for the Lakers to pull off the upset. The Spurs had plenty of excuses at their disposal to justify the loss but Gregg Popovich was having none of it, choosing instead to call out his team in a short statement made after the game, according to Michael Erler of Pounding the Rock:
“I thought the Lakers did a great job. They had an edge, they were aggressive on both ends of the floor, they executed well and the definitely wanted the game more than we did. It seemed to be more important to them than to us. I thought our performance was pitiful. Out of the regular game, 48 (minutes), I thought we played six or seven, eight minutes of competitive, execution-type basketball. The rest of it was just pitiful. We should be embarrassed by the way we played. A lot of it had to do with the Lakers being great, but that is beside the point. We didn’t have enough people that had the focus to take the game seriously and go after it. It was a disappointing night.”
Pop was exasperated by the team’s effort all night long, calling it “pitiful” on a sideline interview:
“It looks like we have to be challenged badly to get the best out of our game. And sometimes you are going to bounce back and get the win, which could have easily happened today. We were in a great situation to win the game. But the thing is that you get to that situation and basically we’re flipping a coin. We can’t allow that to happen and we should’ve taken care of business before.”
The Spurs stand at 16-7, which is only good for seventh place in the West. They have quality wins against elite foes like the Mavericks, Warriors, Clippers and Grizzlies but they need to win the easy ones if they plan to make a push for the top seed. San Antonio can’t relax because, as back up point guard Cory Joseph put it, “the target is on our back. We’re trying to defend a championship right now and everybody knows that.”
San Antonio will try to right the ship on a two-game road trip to Denver and Portland that kicks off a brutal part of their schedule. The Spurs will face the Grizzlies, Pelicans, Trail Blazers twice and also the Rockets, Clippers, Mavericks and Thunder before the end of the year. With how things have been going for the Spurs this season, the fact they will be playing quality opponents nightly might be a good thing, as they will have no choice but to give their best effort to get wins and avoid another tongue-lashing from their coach.