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Why Gregg Popovich benched all five Spurs starters

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09:51 AM ET 05.26 | The Spurs ended up with a compelling overtime victory in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, but it certainly didn't start out as a game that would end in San Antonio's favor. Whether due to the extended layoff between games or because of the desperate nature of the Grizzlies, the Spurs were knocked on their heels from the opening tip, and were overwhelmed by a Memphis team that was clearly the aggressor. As the Grizzlies forced seven turnovers in the game's first seven minutes on the way to jumping out to a quick 11-point lead, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich didn't at all like what he was seeing. But while most coaches would simply call time outs to try to right the ship while being fearful of messing with their regular rotations, Popovich felt that a more drastic measure was required in order to shake his team up. "Well, to start the game, you all saw it; I don't remember the stats," Popovich said. "We had maybe eight turnovers in the first quarter. It looked like those five guys had been asleep since Tuesday, and so we thought we might as well get five different bodies out there and at least start to compete and not be as sloppy as that group looked. For whatever reason, I have no clue, but it was one of the worst starts I've ever seen. We just made the change and hoped we could sustain the hit, get the guys back in, and it was a real test of their character to continue to pound and pound and pound. That's what happened. Really proud of their -- not really their effort so much but their ability to mentally hang in and stick with each other and continue to play."

Pro Basketball Talk

Gregg Popovich, Ronald Martinez/Getty Images Gregg Popovich, Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
May 26, 2013  10:12 AM ET

Pop is a great coach.............

May 26, 2013  10:27 AM ET

SD, wherever you are, congrats to the Spurs!!!! Damn I know POPs is a great coach, but I didn't think they would be 3-0 in this series at this time!!!!!

May 26, 2013  10:30 AM ET

I am sure one-note Ghost will only applaud Pop when he take the Red Mamba out of the lineup.

May 26, 2013  10:32 AM ET

Gutsy move by Pop. The second unit did a good job in at least holding the fort. When the starters came back in, they looked focused and played better. An 18pt deficit became 4pts at half, so Pop and the Spurs got themselves back in it.

Comment #5 has been removed
May 26, 2013  10:55 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

"Why Gregg Popovich benched all five Spurs starters"Waits to hear GhosTown's version...

He won't be here because they won anyway.

May 26, 2013  10:58 AM ET
QUOTE(#2):

SD, wherever you are, congrats to the Spurs!!!! Damn I know POPs is a great coach, but I didn't think they would be 3-0 in this series at this time!!!!!

Not even Phil would bench all his starters to make a point in the postseason...what a master at his craft...Pop you are the best....what a turnaround

May 26, 2013  10:58 AM ET
QUOTE(#3):

I am sure one-note Ghost will only applaud Pop when he take the Red Mamba out of the lineup.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Just like clockwork the Red Mamba gets mentioned and then logs on and posts.

May 26, 2013  10:59 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

"Why Gregg Popovich benched all five Spurs starters"Waits to hear GhosTown's version...

lol....he will talk about how Lebron had nothing to do with the Heat losing Game 2

May 26, 2013  11:06 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

"Why Gregg Popovich benched all five Spurs starters"

To piss off Stern?

May 26, 2013  11:24 AM ET
QUOTE(#7):

Not even Phil would bench all his starters to make a point in the postseason...what a master at his craft...Pop you are the best....what a turnaround

Oh yeah, I agree!!!!!!

May 26, 2013  12:18 PM ET
QUOTE(#8):

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Just like clockwork the Red Mamba gets mentioned and then logs on and posts.

Lol! Yes, timing is everything. lol!

May 26, 2013  12:25 PM ET
QUOTE(#5):

"Why Gregg Popovich benched all five Spurs starters"Waits to hear GhosTown's version...

For the first time in a long time I saw the Pop I used to know and love. He put that damm bottle down and did his thing.

Bonner still played too much but at least Tiago and Diaw got more time than Bonner. And that's the way it should always be. FOREVER!

Anyways...

The move was brilliant. Brilliant I say. That joker was coaching his **** off in game three, he finally realized that we can defend this team and he matched up. Something I have been begging him to do for like 3 years.

If he was stop all those CIA mind tricks and just coach, we would the Champions of the West like we are supposed to be.

May 26, 2013  12:27 PM ET
QUOTE(#6):

He won't be here because they won anyway.

Jealous???

Don't hate. Appreciate!

May 26, 2013  12:34 PM ET
QUOTE(#9):

lol....he will talk about how Lebron had nothing to do with the Heat losing Game 2

Don't go messing with the mojo, keep it shut long enough for the Spurs to get to the finals.

Remember, Pop is the only coach that I know, that when he starts losing in the playoffs he doesn't know how to stop. Can you say, last year?

But since you brought up Lebron, he is a badddddd dude isn't he?

Except for the last 48 secs :)

I am starting to think he did it on purpose because he wanted to make sure that he wasn't playing on the Miami Cavaliers. This way he will force Bosh and Dwade to play in game 3.

Maybe Spo should watch what Pop just did, and bench Rio and start Cole.

May 26, 2013  12:47 PM ET
QUOTE(#15):

Don't go messing with the mojo, keep it shut long enough for the Spurs to get to the finals.Remember, Pop is the only coach that I know, that when he starts losing in the playoffs he doesn't know how to stop. Can you say, last year?But since you brought up Lebron, he is a badddddd dude isn't he?Except for the last 48 secs :) I am starting to think he did it on purpose because he wanted to make sure that he wasn't playing on the Miami Cavaliers. This way he will force Bosh and Dwade to play in game 3.Maybe Spo should watch what Pop just did, and bench Rio and start Cole.

Shut it Ghost.....you are a Heat fan...

 
May 28, 2013  02:30 PM ET

Pop knows how to get his players attention. How to motivate. How to send underlying mesages.

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