Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals wasn't pretty for the San Antonio Spurs, as they committed eight first-quarter turnovers and trailed by as many as 18 points. Just seven minutes in, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich decided to bench his entire starting five.
The Spurs proceeded to defeat the Memphis Grizzlies by a score of 104-93 in overtime—wait, what?
That 29-point turnaround was one of the most impressive performances we've seen all postseason, as the veteran Spurs proved to have an explosive burst in their aging legs. The question is, how did the Spurs manage to turn things around in such dramatic fashion?
As he explains in the video provided above, Popovich went from "grandfatherly" to "ugly."
It looked like those five guys had been asleep since [Game 2]. And so we thought, we might as well get five different bodies out there and at least start to compete and not be as sloppy as that group looked, for whatever reason. ... It was one of the worst starts I've ever seen.
In the first half, I was grandfatherly. In the second half, um, what word can I say? I was, uh, ugly.
The team responded.
Tim Duncan finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds, Tony Parker dropped 26 and Manu Ginobili tallied 19 points. More importantly, the Spurs outscored the Grizzlies in each of the final three quarters, as well as the overtime period of play.
Ginobili drained a buzzer-beater to end the first quarter, thus sparking a 93-64 run.
No one in their right mind will question Popovich's coaching chops, especially with four NBA championship rings to his name. With that being said, few coaches would have the guts to bench Parker, Duncan, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Tiago Splitter simultaneously.
In Game 3, Popovich proved what makes this Spurs team so dangerous—they trust everyone and accept a lackluster effort from no one. Not even the active legends.
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