Popovich said he’s not over Game 6 yet, but daughter’s sharp words helped


If Gregg Popovich didn’t struggle to get the memory of Game 6 of the NBA Finals out of his head all summer there would be something wrong with him.

You don’t get to be an NBA coach, let alone an elite one, without being very competitive. So to come within seconds of an NBA title only to watch that slip through your grasp on missed free throws, surrendering an offensive rebound and a game-tying three has to sting.

With the season starting up he is getting over it — in part thanks to his daughter Jill telling him to get over himself. Buck Harvey at the San Antonio Express-News sat down with Popovich and got him to tell the story.

“OK, Dad, let me get this straight: You won four championships, and you go to a fifth Finals. Other coaches lose all the time. But poor Greggy can’t lose because he’s special. Can you please get over yourself? End of story.”

He stared at her — then started laughing. Hadn’t his daughter told him the same get-over-yourself line he’s told so many others?

“That started me on the path to recovery,” he said.

Popovich’s daughter sounds a whole lot like Popovich. The apple falls near the tree and all that.

Competitors tend to dwell on hard losses more than wins — talk to a professional poker player and they tend to gloss over their victories but will give you ever detail of a bad beat. That sting lasts. It will with Popovich.

The only thing that will really help is a new season and a new challenge. That starts in a couple weeks. And the Spurs are once again title contenders.

Thabo Sefolosha’s lawyer: White police officer targeted black Hawks forward

Thabo Sefolosha
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NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.

Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.

Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.

A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”

Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.


DeMar DeRozan says he hates talking about free agency, takes pride in Raptors longevity

DeMar DeRozan
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DeMar DeRozan has a $10,050,000 player option for 2016-17. Given the rapidly escalating salary cap, it’s a practical certainty DeRozan will opt out and get a major raise.

But he says he doesn’t want to talk about it.

DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:

“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.

“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”

This sounds awfully similar to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stated his desire last year to become the great Trail Blazer ever and then signed with the Spurs this summer.

Things change, and the impracticality of an extension ensures DeRozan will hit free agency. I believe he’s devoted to the Raptors right now, but his loyalty might change in the next nine months – especially once he sees contract offers from other suitors.

Toronto’s interest in DeRozan might fluctuate, too. He’s a nice player, but the Raptors haven’t won a playoff series with him despite winning the division the last two years. Depending how this season goes, Masai Ujiri might want to rework the roster significantly next summer, and letting DeRozan walk could create major cap space.

I believe DeRozan wants to return to the Raptors, and I believe they want to keep him. But so much can change between now and when both sides must make that call.