Posted June 12, 2013

Video: Gregg Popovich guards strategy for defending LeBron during in-game interview

2013 NBA Finals, Gregg Popovich, Rob Mahoney, San Antonio Spurs

ESPN’s Doris Burke and Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich make for an outstanding interview pairing, as the league’s foremost coaching curmudgeon is confronted with legitimate questions from one of the best sideline reporters in basketball. Of course, great questions don’t guarantee great, thoughtful answers. When asked about his team’s approach to guarding LeBron James during the second half of Game 3, he delivered a perfect, guarded response worthy of a place in the greater Popovich canon:

Burke: LeBron James [scored] nine straight to end the quarter. What are you asking for from your defense on him?

Popovich: I can’t tell you that.

Interview antics aside, the Spurs had defended James well up to that point, holding him to just 13 points on 6-of-17 shooting from the field and zero free throw attempts while forcing him into two turnovers. San Antonio’s defense has very clearly prioritized its coverage on James over all other potential threats, primarily by loading up on his drives and challenging him to shoot from the perimeter. James missed on some great, open looks in Game 3, but ultimately struggled to find a productive rhythm in a 113-77 loss, finishing with just 15 points on 7-of-21 shooting. Game 4 of the Finals is Thursday in San Antonio.

5 comments
JuneauPrune
JuneauPrune

Lebron is going to go to the hoop like a raging bull in game 4.  But that risks taking some of his teammates out of the game and making the Heat offense predictable.

FCC
FCC

7 championships?

Jesse3
Jesse3

If James doesn't get rolling there is no one that is going to be able to pick up the slack.  Even Dwayne Wade with his injuries is not going to be able to make up the difference.  The roll players would all have to play better, which they have not consistently shown throughout the playoffs.

vicente
vicente

he obviously doesnt like doris burke?

b1gdon
b1gdon

@vicente Actually Pop really likes Doris Burke...she just violated one of the 2 rules when interviewing Pop...don't ask a leading question and don't ask about strategy.