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Monday, February 24, 2020

Becky Hammon convinced Gregg Popovich to challenge crucial play in Spurs’ win

Becky Hammon

Many believe that it is only a matter of time before Becky Hammon becomes the first female head coach in NBA history, and we saw a great example of why she deserves a shot during the San Antonio Spurs’ win over the Miami Heat on Sunday.

The Spurs were leading 105-100 with 1:28 left in the game when DeMar DeRozan committed a foul on Jimmy Butler. It appeared the foul was committed well before Butler was in the act of shooting, but he was awarded a continuation on the play and the basket counted because of a goaltend. That would have cut San Antonio’s lead to 105-102 and put Butler at the line for a free throw, and it initially looked like Gregg Popovich was not going to challenge the call.

However, Hammon stepped in and was persistent in convincing Pop he had nothing to lose by challenging. The head coach agreed and asked for the play to be reviewed, and it was overturned.

Butler made both free throws to cut the lead to three, but he could have cut it to two had the original call stood. In a game the Spurs won 107-102, that turned out to be a critical play.

Some are saying Hammon is only getting credit for the role she played in that sequence because she is a female, which may be true to some extent. That doesn’t make it wrong, as it further showcases why she deserves consideration as a head coaching candidate. Hammon obviously has a high basketball IQ and has earned the respect of Popovich, who is one of the greatest coaches of all time.

We’ve already heard Hammon linked to one head coaching job, though Charles Barkley has urged her to wait for something better to come along.



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