Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was assessed back-to-back technical fouls and ejected from San Antonio's 109-100 home loss to Portland on Friday.
The Hall of Fame coach had to be restrained by his assistants as he berated the referees during a stoppage in play at the 7:18 mark of the third quarter. Popovich was assessed the first technical foul after exchanging words with referee Mark Ayotte. He then received his second technical foul from referee Bill Kennedy when he continued to chase Ayotte toward the scorer's table.
"I always have my reasons," Popovich said of the ejection, opting not to elaborate.
At the time of the ejection, the Blazers were leading 65-55. San Antonio then went on a 23-12 run to close out the third quarter, before Portland handily won the fourth quarter to pull off the road victory.
CSNNW.com reported that both teams felt the impact of the ejection.
“Pop knew what he was doing,” Wesley Matthews said after the intense game. “He knew exactly what he was doing.”
“You don’t feel it right away but it worked,” Manu Ginobili said of Popovich being ejected. “People got excited and we started making shots. We made a great run.”
The San Antonio Express-News reported further reaction from Blazers guard Damian Lillard.
“We knew once we built a lead, we knew they weren’t going to just go away,” Lillard said. “Especially once Pop got tossed. It looked like he wanted to get tossed because he just kept going off. I knew that would spark something in their team. They got some calls, they made some shots. It was the type of game we expected it to be. It was really intense. The team that backs down, you automatically lose. Neither team did that.”
LaMarcus Aldridge led the Blazers with 26 points (on 11-for-22 shooting) and 13 rebounds. Wesley Matthews added 24 points (on 9-for-14 shooting) and six rebounds.
Ginobili led the Spurs with 29 points (on 9-for-17 shooting) and four assists off the bench. Marco Belinelli and Boris Diaw each added 14 points in a losing effort.
Portland improved to 30-9 with the win. San Antonio dropped to 31-9 with the loss.