On Pro Basketball: Spurs Get Gregg Popovich’s Message, to Their Detriment

Popovich was asked to pinpoint the moment he could sense that lack of belief. Keep in mind, the Spurs were down by 17 points after the first quarter and later trailed by as many as 41.

“Oh, geez,” Popovich said, adding, “Come on.”

That pretty much summed up his evening. Leonard’s absence was significant, of course. He missed the game with a sprained left ankle — around tipoff, Popovich suspected that Leonard was ordering dinner back at the team hotel — and his status for Game 3 on Saturday in San Antonio is unclear. But given the extended layoff, it would be surprising if he did not play.

As for Popovich’s frustration with his team’s mind-set, it is worth noting some of his statements before Game 2. On Monday, as he railed against Pachulia, alleging that he had caused Leonard’s injury because of a “dangerous” and “unsportsmanlike” defensive closeout, Popovich also seemed to lament his team’s wayward fortunes without his best player.

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Coach Gregg Popovich on Tuesday. On Monday, his words to the Spurs, who had lost Kawhi Leonard, were not inspiring. The next night, left, they…

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