Heat notebook

Popping off: Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s wittiest remarks



One of the amusing sideshows of these NBA Finals has been watching Spurs coach Gregg Popovich respond to questions that irritate him, perplex him or merely try his patience.

Popovich was at his cantankerous best/worst Saturday, when none of the eight questions elicited an answer longer than 20 words.

Our top-10 list of Popovich exchanges with reporters during the Finals:

• In asking whether Tony Parker should play in Game 4 in spite of his hamstring injury, a reporter said: “The temptation I would think is to mail in Game 4 and have him at full strength for 5, 6 and 7. … How much do you wrestle with that?”

Popovich: “It confuses my whole brain. I don’t think I can think past that comment [mail it in]. I would like to help you, but I don’t know how to help you. You can come back to our coach’s office and hit us. We’ll be talking about all these sorts of things. Any ideas are welcome.”

• Asked whether he was mulling a lineup change for Game 5: “I’d hate to be trite and say anything is possible. Your question demands my triteness.”

• A reporter pressed Popovich about why he would not discuss the team’s defense on LeBron James: “Is LeBron a sleeping dog you’re letting lie? You won’t get into the LeBron issue at all?”

Popovich: “You’re digging really deep. You must need to write an article by four today or something.”

• What was behind the lack of turnovers in Game 1? Popovich: “I have no clue. We don’t do no-turnover drills.”

• Asked how “amazing it is” to have the type of long-term success Tim Duncan has enjoyed, Popovich said: “Truly amazing. That’s how amazing. How amazing? How am I supposed to answer that? Really, really amazing. Not trying to be a wise guy. What am I going to say? He’s ridiculous. He’s amazing, as you said.”

• Asked Saturday to offer a “larger perspective of where the NBA game is now,” he said: “You’re not serious. You want me to talk about the state of the NBA?”

• When the columnist clarified that he wanted him to discuss the trend of more teams playing smaller lineups, Popovich shot back: “I only care what’s going on right now in this series. I’m not concerned about trends in the NBA.”

A reporter asked Popovich why, during road games, he changed his approach and now has the Spurs shoot at the basket closest to their bench in the second half. Popovich: “I was bored.”

• A reporter said: “I know a lot of this is kind of speculation.” Popovich interrupted and shot back: “You’re going to ask me anyway.” Reporter: “And you’re going to shoot it down.” Popovich: “Next question.”

• And finally, there was the journalist who referenced former Spurs great David Robinson, who started a private equity firm several years ago, in asking this odd question: “Can you give me a few adjectives that you assigned to David Robinson? I’m just wondering if you would at all hesitate to invest your money with him in his current role on Wall Street with his investment fund?”

Popovich: “I have no clue what your question is or what it means. So I’ll just pass on it.”

Contract options

Whereas James Jones and Rashard Lewis have said previously that they expect to exercise Heat player options for next season, Ray Allen said Sunday he hasn’t decided.

He must decide by June 29 whether to opt in on a contract that would pay him $3.2 million next season.

Caging the bird

Impending free agent Chris Andersen, who declined to speak to reporters Saturday, said before the game Sunday that he had no issue with being left out of the rotation in Game 4.

“I would like to be out there, but the way they were playing, no need for me to do it,” he said. “I was very supportive.”

Going small

To counter the Heat’s small lineup, the Spurs started guard Manu Ginobili instead of center Tiago Splitter. It was Ginobili’s first start since last June.

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