Gregg Popovich had to miss the Charlotte game due to personal reasons, so we got to see Tim Duncan as a head coach for a full game for the first time in his coaching career. This was quite sudden, Duncan only found out yesterday morning, and managed to coach the team to his first coaching win. After the game, Duncan explained the difference between being an assistant and a head coach.
“It’s night and day, to be in the big boy chair. Truth be told, I wasn’t in the big boy chair. We’ve got a Becky [Hammond] and Will [Hardy] and Mitch [Johnson]. Mitch prepped the game for us, Becky and Will were making all the calls, and I was just standing there screaming at people.”
You wouldn’t expect any other kind of response from a man who announced his retirement through the Spurs, and that was it. Duncan didn’t just credit his entire staff but also demystified Pop’s reputation. They have amazing staff around him, and he just screams at people. The game seemed in the bag, but the Hornets managed to make it interesting till the end. Coach Duncan had an explanation for that as well.
“I told the guys in there, we had a five-point lead and I’m thinking that we’re just gonna cruise on to the end, but they had to make it interesting. I think they did that out of spite. Great win for us, I’m just happy to have it done.”
Duncan was doing his best Pop impersonation during the post-game interview, as you can see – “just happy to have it done.” After this, a reporter asked him about his motivation to come out of retirement, and Duncan immediately shut that question down. He let them know he was only interested in answering questions about the game and the team.
Pop will be back, and we have no indication when he plans to retire. But, Duncan took over when he got ejected and now when Pop couldn’t coach. As always, great organizations plan for things in advance.