Gregg Popovich Doesn’t Hold Back In Post-Game Interview: Is Vintage ‘Coach Pop’ Back?

Greg Popovich
Jim Cowsert/AP

The San Antonio Spurs made headlines earlier this year by setting a new record for attendance in a regular season NBA game. They also set a new Franchise record Wednesday night, although it’s one the Spurs organization will want to forget. The 120-110 loss against the Charlotte Hornets marked 14 consecutive losses for the Silver and Black this season. An unfamiliar feeling for coach Gregg Popovich.

After their abysmal defensive performance, Popovich had some harsh words for his team in his post-game interview. After seeing post-game interviews talking about silver linings, personal improvements, and we’re a young team comments it was refreshing to see vintage Popovich in action.

He blamed himself, but also made it clear that he was going to hold his players accountable. Let’s look at what he had to say.

How Bad Was The Game? …Very

As hard as the game was to watch at times it wasn’t all bad. Malaki Branham continues to improve nightly. As a bright spot in a terrible game, Branham recorded 23 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. Zach Collins recorded his sixth career double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

If we had to find another positive about the game, the loss gave the Spurs the 2nd worst record in the NBA. Assuming they hold on to that position in standings it will guarantee them the sixth pick or better in the 2023 NBA Draft. Other than that it was sloppy basketball. Aside from a small handful of plays in the first half the defensive pressure was nonexistent for the Spurs.

There was a possession where the Spurs got 5 offensive rebounds and zero points. Even after 13 straight losses, Spurs fans could point to personal performances or injuries to overlook the negative outcomes of the games. However, this game seemed like a clear regression in effort and skill. The silver and black gave up 18-second-chance points and 20 points off turnovers. Giving your opponent 38 points due to mistakes or lack of effort is unacceptable for any team at the NBA level.

Gregg Popovich Didn’t Hold Back After The Game

In his post-game interview, Popovich didn’t spare any words for his team, his first comment was, “You’re correct, guys challenging 7 footers doesn’t make a lot of sense to me” Popovich made it clear that being a young squad is not an excuse for Wednesday nights performance saying,

“Yeah, they’re young but that young thing is getting old. It’s the same mistakes … Not blocking out. Not getting back in transition. Calling a quick timeout to start the third quarter. It’s just inexcusable.” Popovich added, taking the blame for the team, “Youth’s got nothing to do with it. At some point, you have to take pride in what you are doing execution-wise and competitively and that starts with defense and we really suck. That’s on me.”

If that wasn’t harsh enough he ended the interview by saying this about his team, “You don’t want to lose, start playing defense, that’s the deal.” Watch the video below for the full interview.


Is Angry Popovich Back For Good?

In general, long-time Spurs fans and NBA fans know Popovich as a no-nonsense style coach. There was even a time when commentators attributed the Spurs’ inability to attract a major free agent to Popovich’s style of coaching.

We’ve seen him often critical of his players regardless of their skill level. He’s often been blunt with the press. This season, however, we’ve seen a nicer side of the five-time NBA Champion coach. It makes sense in a lot of ways, there’s no pressure to perform this season.

Half of the team’s core players are 19-year-old rookies. But it was great to see the vintage Popovich show up after such a terrible game. It’ll be interesting to see if Popovich’s attitude is different after the all-star break and how it affects the team’s performance.


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