San Antonio Spurs

Gregg Popovich Says His Wine Routine Is Stifled by Noon NBA Game Start Times

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, center, talks to his assistants during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Wednesday, April 16, 2014, in San Antonio. Los Angeles won 113-100. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay
Grant HughesNational NBA Featured ColumnistApril 20, 2014

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich likes two things: wine and winning.

Actually, he likes four things: wine, winning, precision offense and airtight defense.

Or maybe five things; I'm not sure how he feels about cheese pairings.

At any rate, he had to sacrifice his favored beverage ahead of Game 1 against the Dallas Mavericks in order to ensure he could optimally pursue his other loves.

Per Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

The NBA playoffs are all about making sacrifices for the greater good, and If Pop has to forego his traditional evening libation in order to operate hangover-free, he's fine with that. And considering the slow start the heavily favored Spurs got off to against the Dallas Mavericks, it's a good thing his faculties were intact.

Just to be clear, Pop doesn't have a problem; he has a hobby. B/R's Josh Cohen explained as much in a profile of the league's most interesting head coach last season: "Pop is a part-owner of A to Z Wineworks and has a personal wine cellar stocked with 3,000 bottles. Once he decides to call it a career, he has quite a hobby to fall back on."

Fortunately, the Spurs recovered in time to put on a decisive closing surge:

We don't yet know the starting times for the "if necessary" Games 5-7, but at least Popovich can rest assured that none of next three tilts will start before noon. That should give Pop plenty of leeway to relax over a glass or two (and probably some game film) before each game.

For the Mavericks, a team which most critics believe have no chance to compete in this series, it might not be a bad idea to send the Spurs coach a case or two of his favorites. Owner Mark Cuban can afford to buy the good stuff, and the only way Dallas can win this series is if Pop and the Spurs have to play at less than full capacity.

Of course, with the direction this series appears to be headed, Pop will probably use whatever fine Argentine malbec Cuban sends over as a celebratory post-sweep treat.

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