The San Antonio Spurs took on the Dallas Mavericks in a nationally televised game on Wednesday night, and that meant that someone was going to have to conduct a between-quarters interview with Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. (If you hadn't heard, Pop can be a crusty sort in these situations.) But there was no sideline reporter on duty for the front end of the ESPN double-header, meaning the announcing team had to pull double duty ... and after play-by-play man Ryan Ruocco spoke with Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle between the first and second quarters, that left color commentator Jeff Van Gundy staring down a tete-a-tete with Pop between the third and fourth quarters.
What transpired was a little ... different:
JVG should count himself very, very lucky that Pop had just watched his Spurs turn in a 37-20 third quarter (thanks to 14 points on perfect 6 for 6 shooting by Tony Parker) to take a 20-point advantage into the fourth. Had the Spurs found themselves in a nip-and-tuck battle going into the final 12 minutes, I suspect Pop might not have been quite so willing to participate in a comedy bit about how nervous his former coaching compatriot was to stand where so many others before him have had their heads bitten off. Judging by the look on Van Gundy's face, though, the hug and the "I love you" were probably improvised. (And here I thought we were past the deluge of viral "Anchorman 2" marketing.)
The good vibes kept rolling for San Antonio through the final buzzer, as the Spurs scored a 112-90 win behind strong efforts from Parker (25 points, seven assists), Tim Duncan (16 points, 13 rebounds) and sharpshooting reserve Marco Belinelli (17 points in 25 1/2 minutes off the bench) to take a half-game lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder atop the Western Conference at 28-8. Awkward mic-crushing hugs for everyone!
Video via @cjzero.
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