The best coach in The Association and probably one of the two or three greatest NBA coaches of all time, Gregg Popovich, is a tad non-plussed with his team’s current franchise record 18-game winning streak. After trouncing the Pacers on Monday night, Spurs guard Tony Parker alluded to Popovich’s displeasure at all the winning and Pop’s hope the Spurs lose before the playoffs start.
When asked about the winning streak after the Pacers game, Parker mentioned a possible self-sabotage by Popovich â€” whereby he rests his starters â€” in an attempt to thwart the annoying winning streak. Via the Indianapolis Star:
“I don’t know. I think he’ll be happy if we lose any time soon,” Parker said.
Someone uttered the word “sabotage.” Parker laughed and said, “I’m pretty sure. He’s going to rest like half of the team.”
Parker clarified that, “We’re still going to try to win the game. We’re not going to lose on purpose,” but it’s no surprise Popovich is a little ticked off at how easy things are coming to the Spurs. Pop once told his team in a timeout that he wanted some “nasty,” before offering up the observation that playoff basketball is supposed to be hard. It’s Pop’s own form of tough love, and we love it. Adversity breeds success is the idea, and he’s got the results to prove it, so of course the opposite must hold true that a lot of winning just breeds complacency.
Despite San Antonio’s romp over the rest of the NBA, it’s not that hard to imagine why Popovich is so leery of all the easy victories.
It calls to mind our favorite little factoid from the 2011-12 lockout shortened NBA season. The Spurs surprised everyone (yet again), by finishing with the league’s best record after winning their final 10 games of the regular season. Then, they went ahead and won their first 10 games of the playoffs, sweeping the Jazz (down 3-0, Al Jefferson even said the series was over) and the Clippers before facing off against the Thunder.
Despite being up 2-0 on the Thunder, San Antonio was promptly swept in the next four games by the young studs from Oklahoma City. The rest is history. Right before the sweep, the Spurs had won 20 games in a row.
Popovich simply doesn’t want history to repeat itself. There is a method to his seeming madness and his four championship rings provide the best evidence as to why.
Will the Spurs win out?
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