Defense has been the hallmark of all Gregg Popovich’s Spurs teams, so you can only imagine his frustration with this year’s squad, as they struggle to stop opponents. The Express-News reports: “Earlier this week, Popovich raised eyebrows after a 106-103 loss in Milwaukee by labeling his current Spurs crop ‘the worst defensive team we’ve ever had.’ It is a theme he continued to hammer when the Spurs returned home to face Houston on Wednesday, noting the Spurs’ defensive ranks — 26th in field-goal percentage defense, 23rd in opponents’ points per game. ‘That just won’t get anything done,’ Popovich said. ‘That will portend a very mediocre basketball season for the San Antonio Spurs.’ Whether the Spurs finally heeded Popovich’s message — or perhaps the second night of a back-to-back got to their opponents — Wednesday’s 101-95 overtime win over the Rockets seemed to represent a modest step forward on the defensive front. After allowing Houston to shoot 65 percent (13 of 20) in the first quarter — ‘It looked like the same defense from Milwaukee,’ Popovich said — the Spurs held the Rockets to 28-of-76 shooting the rest of the way, including 2 for 10 in OT. Houston finished the game at 42.7 percent, breaking a string of three straight opponents to top 50 percent against the Spurs. The Rockets made just 3 of 21 3-pointers. Though obviously pleased with the performance, Popovich and team captain Tim Duncan both said they’d like to see more of the same before declaring the Spurs’ defensive woes cured. ‘We’ve got a lot of work to do,’ Duncan said. ‘We’ve got a long ways to go to get to where we believe the Spurs’ defense should be.'”
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