Ettore Messina to Coach Spurs in Game 4 After Death of Gregg Popovich's Wife

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 21, 2018

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich in the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, in Denver. The Nuggets won 117-109. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The San Antonio Spurs announced Saturday that head coach Gregg Popovich will miss Game 4 of their first-round playoff series against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, per Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated.

Assistant Ettore Messina will serve as the Spurs' head coach for the second consecutive contest.

Popovich did not coach the team in San Antonio's Game 3 loss Thursday following the death of his wife, Erin, on Wednesday.

The 69-year-old Popovich is among the most accomplished head coaches in league history with five championships and three NBA Coach of the Year awards to his credit.

Also, his 1,197 career regular-season wins are the most among active coaches and the fifth-most of all time. Popovich's career winning percentage of 68.9 percent is fourth-best in NBA history behind only Steve Kerr, Phil Jackson and Billy Cunningham.

The 2017-18 season has been a struggle at times for Popovich and the Spurs, however, due largely to the absence of star forward Kawhi Leonard.

Leonard missed all but nine regular-season games with a quad injury, and the Spurs finished with the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference at 47-35.

While San Antonio extended its 21-year streak of reaching the playoffs, its 47 wins marked the fewest during that run, excepting the lockout-shortened 1998-99 campaign.

The Spurs are in a tough spot, as they trail Golden State 3-0 in the series, and with Popovich out once again, mounting a comeback against the reigning NBA champions could be an even more difficult task.

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