words // Brandon Richard
It’s been about 10 months since the San Antonio Spurs suffered one of the biggest collapses in NBA Finals history. They were up 5 with just 28 seconds left to play in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals, but LeBron James and Ray Allen each hit clutch three-pointers to force overtime, where they’d steal the game and eventually the series. Many wondered how the Spurs would rebound after such a devastating loss. When Gregg Popovich is in your huddle, poise is never an issue.
On the bench for his 18th season with the Spurs, ‘Pop’ was as good as ever. San Antonio finished with a 62-20 record, the best record in the NBA and second highest win total during Popovich’s tenure. From late-February to early April the Spurs enjoyed a 19-game winning streak, tied for the sixth longest of all-time. On top of that, the team’s starters averaged just 26.9 minutes per game, dead last in the NBA. That means they’re as rested as possible to make another run at the NBA Finals.
For those reasons, Popovich was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year for the third time earlier today. He beat out Phoenix’s Jeff Hornacek and Chicago’s Tom Thibodeau for the award.
The Spurs return to the court for Game 2 of their first round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks tomorrow night.