San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich made history on Saturday night in Denver, winning his 1,413th NBA game between the regular season and playoffs to become the winningest coach in NBA history. He moved past the legendary Lenny Wilkens, who is in the Hall of Fame as both a player and coach, in the process.
The win couldn’t have come in more fitting fashion for Popovich, who guided his No. 7 seeded Spurs to an upset victory over the No. 2 seed Nuggets, 101-96. It was a bit of a strange game, as the Spurs managed to hold off a cold-shooting Nuggets team down the stretch through a mix of luck and timely shot-making.
Clinging to a one-point lead in the closing seconds, the Spurs exhaled when Jamal Murray missed a mid-range jumper that could have put the Nuggets in front. On the other end, LaMarcus Aldridge hit two free throws, then Derrick White stole the ball from Murray and hit two free throws of his own to seal the win.
After all of the changes the Spurs underwent in the offseason, trading Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to the Raptors for DeMar DeRozan, losing Tony Parker to the Hornets and Manu Ginobili to retirement, Popovich and Co. just kept marching on. This game fell right into that pattern, as the Spurs, somehow, did enough to get the win. It wasn’t flashy — save for White’s monster slam on Paul Millsap — but it was a steady, professional performance that got the job done, which just about sums up Popovich’s coaching career.