SAN ANTONIO — The Warriors’ Mark Jackson and the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich shared a long moment after San Antonio administered a 111-90 beatdown of a short-handed Golden State team.
Jackson declined to share what was said, but it’s clear that there is mutual respect between the two coaches. San Antonio won its 19th straight game and has the NBA’s best record, with Jackson consistently praising the Spurs as the standard.
Popovich said before the game he was flattered by Jackson’s comments and in turn had kind words for the Warriors, who the Spurs defeated in the Western Conference semifinals last season.
“Since Mark has gotten there, they’ve certainly taken a jump and done very well and improved year after year, so it’s a matter of getting an opportunity and then sticking with it and having a group around you that can share a vision and has patience to get it done.
“And we’ve been fortunate to have great synergy between ownership and management and coaching for quite a while, and that creates an environment for players that allows them to be more successful. That’s really what’s gone well for us.”
San Antonio swept the season series, sending Golden State a strong message that it has a ways to go before reaching the Spurs’ level. Jackson believes it’s a process, and San Antonio is a fine model for how the Warriors want to get there. The two teams could still meet in the postseason.
“I’ve just got a tremendous amount of respect for him, and he’s been an all-time great coach,” Jackson said of Popovich.
“Letting him know the respect and appreciation, and we wish him the best moving forward.”