|Popovich takes charge, in more than one way|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 10 June 2007 19:32|
On Sunday night, he took a charge.
In the fourth quarter of the Spurs' 103-92 Game 2 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night, Robert Horry had so much momentum as he tried to save a ball on the sideline that he ran out of bounds, smack dab into his boss.
Both of them went down hard against the scorer's table.
``That's all I could do,'' Popovich said, remembering his athletic days at the Air Force Academy. ``That's the best thing I could do as a player is fall down.''
``I was so scared,'' said Horry, who had five blocks, five points and nine rebounds in 26 minutes Sunday. ``I was like, 'Please don't be hurt, please don't be hurt.' But he jumped up fast, that shows you how tough he is.''
Horry, whom Popovich called ``our star'' on Sunday, has been here before.
In Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Phoenix Suns, Horry checked Steve Nash, who tumbled into the scorer's table. Horry's move started a mini-scrum on the court and resulted in a two-game suspension for Horry and a one-game suspension for the Suns' Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw, who left the bench area but weren't involved.
Next time, Horry has some advice for his coach.
``Get out of my way,'' he joked. ``Just jump up, jump up on the scorer's table, a la Steve Nash.''
SNOW SPEAKS: Eric Snow wasn't happy with what he saw from his teammates in the first half of Game 2.
The veteran point guard, the only Cleveland player with previous NBA finals experience, didn't think the Cavs were playing as hard as they needed to against a team as good as the Spurs.
``I didn't think we were competing. I thought they were outworking us,'' Snow said. ``If we match their work ethic, we give ourselves a chance, because I think at the end of the day we've got just as much talent.
``When they made a run on us, we kind of felt sorry for ourselves.''
Cleveland trailed 58-33 at halftime, one of the largest deficits ever in an NBA finals game. The Spurs held on for a 103-92 victory and a 2-0 lead in the series.
Though his playing time has been cut, Snow is a respected veteran leader in the Cavs' locker room. And if he felt he needed to speak his mind, his teammates wouldn't argue.
``It's no secret you come into the locker room down like we were with the way they were playing, the things they were doing, doing what they wanted to do, it's no secret a guy will step up and state the obvious,'' starting point guard Larry Hughes said.
RUSSELL ON RED: As good as Red Auerbach was as a coach, it wasn't even his best skill.
According to Bill Russell, his former coach was one mean card player.
``We'd play a game someplace and I'd see Red and he'd see me and say, 'Do you want to play gin tonight?' And we would stay up to three or four o'clock in the morning playing gin,'' Russell said. ``I always lost. He was probably a better gin player than he was a coach and that is saying something.''
That is one of the memories Russell shares of Auerbach in ``Red and Me,'' airing Tuesday night on NBA TV.
Russell hasn't spoken to the media about Auerbach since the former Boston Celtics coach and general manager died last October. Russell details a close relationship between player and coach during the show, which includes some rarely seen photos and videos along with Russell's first-person accounts.
``We live and die, but while we are here there are things that we accomplish and to me the greatest thing that you can accomplish is friendship,'' Russell said. ``For me, personally, our friendship will last through eternity.''
Russell also discusses some of Auerbach's coaching theories, including why he never told his players what time they had to go to bed.
``Red used to never have a curfew,'' Russell said. ``I asked him why he never had a curfew. He said, 'Because I have to be there to enforce it.'''
AP Sports Writer Tom Withers and AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney contributed to this report.