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Mics Provide Insight Into Pop's Lighter Side

Those who were only focused on what actually occurred on the basketball court in Los Angeles last night might have been deluded into believing that the highlight of the game was one of several crucial fourth-quarter plays made by Kobe Bryant.

Not the case.

Much as Gregg Popovich might hate the invasive microphones and between-quarter interviews, they provided a brief window into the personality of the coach that players claim is a cut-up behind closed doors.

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At some point in the second quarter of last night's contest, Brent Barry stood wide open on the left-wing for several seconds, and Tim Duncan never even so much as looked in his direction from his spot with the ball at the right elbow.  What happened through the rest of the play, I can't remember.  What I can remember is that Pop was quite sure that Barry wasn't demonstrative in calling for the ball:

"Pull your pants down, if you have to.  Jump up and down.  Just make sure he sees you next time."

All said with a straight face.  Somehow.

When Duncan made it back to the huddle at the next timeout, mics recorded Pop telling the star power forward that he'd told Barry to de-pants himself if that's what it took to get Duncan to move the ball his way.   Duncan and Pop exchanged a smile, and the message was sent from coach to player with no hard feelings.

Great coaches have a feel for how to work with their players.  Regardless of last night's result, Gregg Popovich remains as good as any in the business in that department.