Gregg Popovich became the NBA’s all-time leader in regular-season coaching wins after his San Antonio Spurs rallied from 15 points down in the fourth quarter to beat the visiting Utah Jazz 104-102 on Friday.
The victory lifted Popovich to 1,336 wins, breaking a tie with Don Nelson. Popovich, in his 26th NBA season, all with the Spurs, tied the record on March 7 via a victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, but lost their next game.
The Spurs trailed by 10 entering the fourth quarter and by 15 with 10:02 left in the game, but they rallied and were up 98-95 after Jakob Poeltl made a floater with 31.3 seconds remaining. Utah’s Donovan Mitchell canned a jumper with 17.6 seconds left to cut the lead to a point.
Josh Richardson then made one free throw with 14.2 seconds to play but missed the second. The Spurs’ Keldon Johnson swooped in for the offensive rebound, was fouled, and made both of the free throws with 12.5 seconds remaining to make it a four-point game.
Mitchell’s bucket with 5.9 seconds to play cut the lead back to two, before Dejounte Murray made a pair of free throws with 4.8 seconds left.
Utah’s Rudy Gay hit a 3-pointer with two seconds left, but Murray added another free throw and the Jazz could not get off another shot.
San Antonio had been 0 for 33 in games it was trailing entering the fourth quarter.
Murray led the Spurs with 27 points, with Poeltl adding 15 points and 11 rebounds. Zach Collins also scored 15 points, Johnson finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Richardson and Lonnie Walker IV scored 11 points each.
Mitchell scored 24 points to lead the Jazz. Jordan Clarkson had 17, and Rudy Gobert (13 points, 16 rebounds) and Hassan Whiteside (13 points and 10 rebounds) recorded double-doubles for Utah.
Mitchell scored 10 points in a stretch of the second period when the Jazz turned a two-point deficit into a 57-45 lead with 2:22 to play in the half.
Utah took a 59-50 advantage into the break behind Mitchell’s 18 points in the first half. The Jazz hit 9 of its 22 shots from beyond the arc in the half, with Mitchell making 4 of 8.
Collins paced the Spurs with 13 points in the half and Murray added 12. San Antonio shot only 39.5 percent in the half.
–Field Level Media