An icy Gregg Popovich postgame press conference is a staple of any San Antonio Spurs loss – and even a few of their wins. But after his team was eliminated from the NBA Playoffs last night, Pop was in rare form.
San Antonio's historic season, which saw them win a franchise record 67 games and run wire-to-wire with the Golden State Warriors atop the Western Conference, came to an end on Thursday with a 113-99 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. It's an especially bitter pill for Spurs fans to swallow, with because it likely coincides with the retirements of Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili – two soon-to-be Hall of Famers who have carried the team for nearly two decades – in a season that seemed destined for a storybook ending.
Maybe that's why Popovich was feeling especially surly following the game, swatting away reporters questions like the Big Fundamental himself (y'know, since he's the franchise's all-time leader in blocked shots). Like when he was asked if he regretted not going to a smaller lineup earlier to combat the Thunder's size, and responded with some sass.
"Are you coaching right now?" Popovich shot back. "You should try not to do that."
Or when was asked about the moment he shared with Duncan before the start of the fourth quarter and laughed it off.
"Really? You think I'm going to share what I spoke to Tim about? I guess you've got to ask, right?" he said. " You've got to ask, exactly. It doesn't go in unless you shoot it. No, I'm not going to tell you."
Alas, we probably should've seen this coming. With the Spurs being outscored 25-19 in the first quarter, Popovich told ESPN's Doris Burke that everything "went to crap" once he made substitutions. Throw in those potential retirements and the fact many thought the Spurs would challenge the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, and you have the recipe for an extra a salty Coach Pop.