SAN ANTONIO – Greg Popovich is just one win away from becoming the best coach in the NBA.
Popovich tied Don Nelson’s NBA record with his 1335th career win as a coach in the San Antonio Spurs’ 117-110 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night. And he did so with his typical dry wit.
In fact, during a break, Popovic called up the former Tottenham center and the Basketball Hall of Fame David Robinson To match the game and verify his entry into the game. Robinson was sitting on the field.
Spurs had lost four times in a row with Popovic on the brink of a tag tie. In his 26th season, the veteran coach will try to surpass Nelson when the San Antonio hosts the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.
On Monday, with LeBron James Not in the road team lineup, Spurs raced to a 31-22 lead after the first quarter and trailed off with 22 points in the fourth quarter.
“I thought we were a little quick,” Popovich said. “I’m not very patient, but we played good long-term defense. That’s what boosted our progress, I think.”
“It’s hard to put into words how much of an impact he has on the Spurs organization, NBA and basketball in general,” Richardson said of Popovich.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel, in his post-game media comments, said he has “incredible respect” for Popovic, something that is synonymous with most coaches throughout the league.
“I’m definitely happy for him, I hope it’s not against us,” Vogel said. “But pop is the best.”
Richardson agreed, and said Spurs hope they can break the record in that next match. Although he hasn’t been in San Antonio for long, Richardson noted how much Popovich means to the League, its players, and Team USA as well.
But the record isn’t the only focus of the improved San Antonio team two and a half games off the cutting line for the Western Conference Posteason Championship play. In fact, Puelt said Popovich’s record is something that doesn’t get talked about in the locker room.
“You know Bob,” Boltle said. “I don’t think he really cares about things like that. It’s not really mentioned. I doubt it will be mentioned when we get our next win. That’s just how it is.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.