Gregg Popovich isn’t known for holding back his thoughts, so it should come as no surprise that after the Spurs lost, 104-100, in overtime to the NBA-worst Knicks, he let his players have it.
“We didn’t respect the game. We didn’t respect our opponent. It was a pathetic performance and I hope that every player is embarrassed,” he said in a postgame interview.
This was the Spurs’ game to lose. Up by 13 in the third quarter, the team quickly let their lead slip in the fourth. Even star Tony Parker, who tallied 21 points, six rebounds and six assists, couldn’t save them.
The Knicks’ four-point victory, made them the “first team with a winning percentage below .200 — at the 60-game mark or later — to beat a defending NBA champion,” ESPN reports.
Popovich wasn’t all curmudgeon in his postgame interview, though. After berating his own guys, he lauded the Knicks, who improved their record to 14-53.
“I thought that their movement, unselfishness was great. Their juice and competitiveness was better than ours and they respected the game. They got rewarded for it,” he said.
Multiple Knicks players scored big on Tuesday night. Langston Galloway led New York with 22 points, Alexey Shved scored 21 points and Andrea Bargnani put up a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Lou Amundson’s layup, two of his 12 points, sent the game to overtime.
The Knicks’ big win came in a game San Antonio could ill afford to lose in the season’s stretch run. The Spurs currently hold the seventh seed in the Western Conference, a game behind the sixth-seeded Mavericks and 4.5 games ahead of eighth place New Orleans.