Coaches torture themselves over success, and Gregg Popovich has been lately. He's been wondering out loud among his staff that, well, wouldn't it be better to lose a game?
“That's why,” one of his assistants kidded him, “you are coach of the year.”
Popovich wasn't laughing. He's felt the winning streak has become a burden, and he didn't like the feel that a relaxed first round was giving his players. It's the same reason he also dislikes 20-point leads in the first half.
So what happened Monday, when the Spurs coughed and sputtered toward a sweep, gave him hope. Popovich can treat the latest win like a loss, and he will take the Spurs into the film room to see a few things.
Or, as Stephen Jackson put it with a smile, “Pop's got something to teach on.”