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Spurs coach Popovich has little time for snap judgments

San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich (L) speaks to guard Tony Parker during a team practice ahead of Game 2 of the NBA Finals basketb
San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich (L) speaks to guard Tony Parker during a team practice ahead of Game 2 of the NBA Finals basketb

By Simon Evans

MIAMI (Reuters) - For San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich the rush to judgment and hasty generalizations after the opening game of the best-of-seven NBA Finals are clearly an annoyance.

Popovich, who has won four NBA championships in his 17 years as coach of the Spurs, is too polite to mock the questions from members of the media seeking an instant storyline.

But it is clear from the 64-year-old's answers and facial expressions that the two-time NBA Coach of the Year finds little to generalize about from Thursday's Game One victory over the defending champion Miami Heat.

"I don't think we're as good as you say. We looked at the film today, and I thought we had just as many dry possessions as we had good ones," he told reporters after practice on Friday.

"Often times a team that wins a game gets too much credit for being really well‑executing and for having the energy and all that sort of thing.

"If it's the losing team, you catch hell because you didn't execute this or that, or you ran out of gas or something. And I think both notions are probably misplaced."

A wonderful individual effort from Tony Parker in the final seconds sealed Thursday's 92-88 win for the Spurs and Popovich says that play and the four-point margin of victory should caution against reading too much into the Spurs' road win.

"Down the stretch, we were fortunate. Tony hit a heck of a shot. So it's not like anybody kicked anybody's butt. said Popovich. "It was anybody's ballgame and we happened to be fortunate to get it."

Another storyline from Thursday's opener was Miami's Chris Bosh going 0-for-4 from beyond the arc and managing just 13 points on 6-of-16 shooting.

Asked how his team had contained the eight-time All-Star so well, Popovich burst another bubble.

"One has to be careful to not use too big a brush to paint somebody's situation. We didn't shoot well, and they didn't shoot well," he said. "Part of that is because at times good contesting and good defense, and other times people just miss good shots. They missed some wide‑open shots. We missed some wide‑open shots.

"So it's always a little bit of both. I don't think we contained Chris Bosh. He had some open shots he didn't make.

"So the labels don't really work for me. It's a matter of both. Sometimes shots are just missed and sometimes they are contested and the defense gets credit."

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

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