Popovich unhappy as Spurs suffer first defeat

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LOS ANGELES: San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich bemoaned his team’s slow start as the Western Conference heavyweights suffered their first loss of the season with a 106-91 defeat to Utah on Tuesday.

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George Hill scored 22 points to lead the fired up Jazz, who improved to 2-2, against a powerful San Antonio who had routed Golden State in their season-opener last week.

San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard top-scored overall with 30 points to continue his impressive start to the season.

But the Spurs were left scrambling after ceding the initiative early on to the chagrin of the experienced Popovich.

“I thought we started out pretty unaggressively for whatever reason,” Popovich told reporters.

“They shot several uncontested shots. I think we followed them around so to speak, just reacted to their offense.

“We got back in the game somewhere in the second quarter and the third when we were a bit more aggressive and got into passing lanes.

“But every time it was a one or two-point deal we’d miss a shot or they’d make one or turn it over. Overall they outplayed us. They executed fantastically for the entire 48 minutes—we were in and out in that regard.”

Spurs veteran Spanish international Pau Gasol also cited his team’s sluggish opening spell as a factor behind the defeat.

“We definitely allowed them to play too comfortable and get into a rhythm early on,” he said

“It’s not normal. They executed well, give them credit. But we didn’t put enough pressure on their offense. They executed better down the stretch, took tough shots and we didn’t.

“We should have put a bit more pressure on them. Once we were down we stepped it up, but you’ve got to start from the get go.” AFP

AFP/CC

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