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Sorry, Doris Burke, Gregg Popovich will not tell you his strategy for defending LeBron James

Gregg Popovich interviewGregg Popovich continues to be a headache for reporters trying to interview him during games. At least he is entertaining, though.

Popovich was interviewed by ABC’s Doris Burke between the third and fourth quarters of Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday. After LeBron James closed the third quarter with nine straight points to make it a 15-point game, Burke asked Popovich what he wants from his team when it comes to defending James. Pop pondered the question for a moment, and then gave a classic response.

“I can’t tell you that.”

Would we expect anything less from Pop? At least he used more than one word with Burke this time.

Video via @BeyondtheBuzzer

Gregg Popovich uses only word ‘turnovers’ during sideline interview (Video)

Gregg-Popovich-interviewESPN’s Doris Burke drew the unfortunate task of having to interview San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich following his team’s abysmal start go Game 3 against the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night. The Spurs went on to win 104-93 in overtime and take a commanding 3-0 series lead, but Pop’s team dug itself into a 29-13 hole after the first quarter.

Burke asked Popovich what happened to the Spurs offensively in the first quarter that resulted in only 13 points.

“Turnovers,” he replied.

She then asked what he saw defensively from the Grizzlies that made them so effective.

“Turnovers,” Popovich said again.

Popovich didn’t exactly treat Burke as if she was Craig Sager, but it was vintage Pop nonetheless. It’s hard to believe this is the same guy who asked a reporter for a follow-up question just a couple weeks ago. Regardless of the mood he was in after a terrible first quarter, Popovich has to be feeling great about the fact that his team is on the verge of completing a sweep to advance to the NBA Finals.

Gregg Popovich actually wanted a second question from David Aldridge (Video)

Gregg-Popovich-David-AldridgeThe only thing worse than having to interview Gregg Popovich on the sidelines heading into the fourth quarter is having to interview Gregg Popovich on the sidelines heading into the fourth quarter with his team trailing by 12. TNT’s David Aldridge drew that unlucky assignment on Monday night, but he was surprised by the reaction he got.

Aldridge went into the interview with only one question to ask Popovich, which was probably a good idea. He asked the veteran coach how he will keep his team from getting discouraged with the way Stephen Curry was shooting. Pop answered the question and took a jab at Aldridge for not asking a follow-up.

“No second question, huh?” he joked. “I’m hurt.”

Perhaps it was Pop’s positive attitude that helped the San Antonio Spurs claw their way to a 129-127 double-overtime victory against the Golden State Warriors in Game 1. Manu Ginobili may have had a little something to do with it as well. As we know from this awesome video of Popovich’s history of abusing Craig Sager, his interview with Aldridge on Monday night could have gone much worse. His wife probably won’t even be mad at him this time.

Video via @cjzero

Gregg Popovich trying to soften up Stephen Curry, Warriors?

Gregg PopovichGregg Popovich is a very clever coach. He has won four NBA championships and keeps the San Antonio Spurs competitive regardless of personnel or injury. He is widely regarded as the top coach in the league, and his mental ability is a big reason why.

Take for instance what he did prior to the Spurs’ Western Conference semifinals playoff series against the Golden State Warriors.

Pop was extremely praiseworthy of the Warriors when speaking about them before the series began.

“They’re a very good team. They play good ‘D’. They rebound. They’ve got great pace, great skill players, good role players, and Mark has given them a philosophy they’ve all bought into, and it’s one heck of a squad. So they’re in the second round for a reason,” Popovich said of Golden State, via KENS 5.

He also recently said watching Stephen Curry shoot was like watching Michael Jordan play. Curry had a humorous response Sunday when presented with the comment. He asked if Pop was drunk at the time.

Even though Popovich’s comment was made two weeks ago, you have to wonder if this isn’t part of a bigger strategy to soften up the Warriors before the series.

Phil Jackson was notorious for priming officials by complaining about a player’s questionable technique ahead of a playoff game. Is this much different? The strategy of praising and over-praising opponents is very much in line with what Bill Belichick does in football.

According to the Patriots’ rules for dealing with the media, that’s one of Belichick’s biggest strategies. Not only do you not give the opposing team “bulletin board material” if you’re busy praising them, but you can also disarm a competitor by complimenting them. Isn’t that exactly why Michael Jordan would take opponents out to dinner before games? Pop knows exactly what he’s doing.

Stephen Jackson: Gregg Popovich wanted me to admit other Spurs were better

Stephen JacksonStephen Jackson’s release by the San Antonio Spurs last week came as a shock to many. Nobody saw it coming, and many people were led to believe that Jackson was happy being part of the San Antonio organization. That clearly was not the case — at least not recently.

The day he was released, Jackson hinted at a possible conflict with coach Gregg Popovich.

“I would never say a player is better than me when I know their not. Not for no one,” Jackson wrote on Instagram.

He then tagged his note with a hashtag saying you and I know what’s really going on.

Jackson made it pretty obvious that he was dissatisfied with being behind players on the depth chart whom he thinks he’s better than. He elaborated on that thought in an interview with Sister 2 Sister Magazine.

“We had a disagreement,” Jackson said in reference to Coach Popovich. “He wanted me to agree to players being better than me, and I didn’t agree. I’ve been in the NBA a long time, so it’s just something I didn’t agree with and something I have no control over. He’s the coach. He controls who plays, and he controls the team, which I do respect. At the same time, I know what I can do and what I been doing my whole career, and I’m far from ready to hang it up. So, I can’t let one person tell me where I’m at 35-years-old. To me, it just didn’t make no sense.”

Jackson also says he expressed his unhappiness with his role on the team prior to the trade deadline and all-star break, and that he wishes they would have released him sooner so he could have joined another team.

I’m not 100 percent sure about whom Jackson is referring, but I’m guessing it’s Kawhi Leonard. Leonard was the team’s first-round pick in 2011 and has seen a big minutes boost this season. He’s also played well for San Antonio, and you cannot really disagree with the results; the Spurs secured the second seed in the Western Conference.

Who can really be surprised about Jackson having an issue with the team? He’s had problems everywhere he’s played, so it was only a matter of time before he had an issue with the Spurs. I’m honestly shocked he went this long without really having a big disagreement with the team.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk

Gregg Popovich gave Craig Sager another brief interview (Video)

Craig Sager Gregg PopovichGregg Popovich stonewalling Craig Sager is a TNT tradition just like those great Photoshop pictures of Charles Barkley. Anytime the San Antonio Spurs play on TNT on Thursday nights, you know an uncomfortable interview between Pop and Sager is coming.

That certainly held true this week.

After the first quarter of the Spurs-Oklahoma City Thunder game, Sager attempted to ask the Spurs coach a few questions. Sager asked a legitimate question about how difficult it is for Pop to sub out Tim Duncan while he’s hot, and Pop gave a smartass retort.

“Well, I can’t play him 48 (minutes).”

Sager seemed to be caught off guard by the answer and was stumbling trying to figure out his next question. He tried to segue into something about the Spurs’ dangerous bench, and ended up looking silly for mentioning Manu Ginobili, who is out with a hamstring injury. No surprise, Popovich was quick to point out Sager’s error.

Pop’s history of abusing Sager during interviews was captured in video form last year. The coach’s wife even has asked him to cut it out, but he says he just can’t help it. As funny as it is to see him pick on Sager, we wish he would cut it out already and finally act professionally.

Video via @cjzero

Dwight Howard denies report about Gregg Popovich swearing at him

Gregg Popovich Dwight Howard

Last weekend, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reported that Gregg Popovich yelled at and rained f-bombs down on Dwight Howard during the All-Star game due to the center’s lack of focus in the game. Not surprisingly, Howard has denied that report, insisting on Friday night that it “just never happened.” Instead, he says the exchange had to do with confusion over whether it was supposed to be him or Blake Griffin involved with a play.

“Pop was diagramming a play for me, and then as he showed us what to do he kept saying, ‘Blake,’” Howard said according to the LA Times. “So Blake and I are confused, but he keeps saying Blake, so Blake takes off his jersey and goes into the game.

“Pop sees me and wants to know why I’m not in the game running the play, so I tell him he kept saying Blake so Blake went in. He wasn’t swearing at me.”

While it makes sense that Howard would deny that Pop swore at him even if it were true, we also have to consider the source. Stephen A. Smith has a flare for the dramatic, to say the least. It would be easy to believe that Howard was dogging it during the game, but it’s also not difficult to imagine Stephen A. exaggerating.

“It hurts me, but what can I do about it?” Howard asked. “I can’t fight ESPN.”

I’d be interested to see what Pop has to say. The important thing for the Lakers is that Howard has ben dominating the glass and putting up points over the past several games. Some people feel as though Popovich may have helped motivate Dwight, but it doesn’t really matter. If L.A. wants to make the playoffs, they’ll need Howard to continue his improved play.