Last season, with the horror of Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals still fresh in everyone’s minds, it was easy for San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich to motivate his team.
“There was a different mantra,” Popovich said. “Boarding the plane, before practices, during shootaround, we said, ‘We came here to win two.’ We totally believed at that point. We thought we were better.”
“When [Miami] won Game 2,” he said, “they probably didn’t handle that win real well. They were probably thinking that we got lucky in Game 1, with the air conditioning issue, and they thought they were just going to do it again. As two-time defending champs, it was natural. This had become their place in the world.”
A year ago, even as he said he was tormented by Game 6 [of the 2013 Finals], Popovich secretly loved that the disappointment could be used as fuel. So facing the opposite problem now, is he concerned? […] “I’m worried for one reason,” he said. “They are human beings. They are going to feel satisfied.”