Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs are in quite the predicament after the Houston Rockets blasted off in Game 1 of their playoff series.
The Rockets set a new team record by splashing 22 three-pointers on San Antonio in the series-opening game, opening up a 30-point lead going into halftime. It was a stunning performance, and a very uncharacteristic outing from Popovich's highly-coached Spurs.
Popovich had to face the music after the game, speaking to reporters in the postgame press conference after the Rockets won 126-99. His response was in perfectly-Pop fashion, using few words and cutting to the chase of what just transpired on the basketball court.
"We lost and they won, and they played better," Popovich told a reporter who asked him for his, "take on what the heck just happened."
"Sure we competed, but I don't think we executed in a very wise manner. We disobeyed a lot of basic basketball rules that they can take advantage of. If we're going to shoot quickly, and shoot poorly, that's going to be a fast break deal all night long, and they're better at that than we are," Popovich said.
Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni knows this was a rare-occurrence of the Spurs struggling from the field - they shot just 31 percent overall as a team - and seemed to agree that San Antonio's offensive struggles had a lot to do with it.
"Obviously, we are really happy with our defense and what we did. Knowing that this was kind of abnormal, they are not going to miss shots like that," D'Antoni said.
James Harden offered his own insight on how it played out, noting the strategic difference in taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round compared to the Spurs in Round 2.
"Just taking what the defense gives us. Last series (against Oklahoma City) was a more grind-it-out. We weren't really making a lot of 3s. We had to figure a way to get paint points and in this series so far they gave opportunities to shoot 3s."
The Rockets attempted and connected on the most three-point attempts in the entire NBA through the regular season, pushing the pace and splashing the lace on their way to creating the second-best offense in the NBA. They trailed only the Warriors in points per 100 possessions.
The good news for San Antonio is Coach Popovich is well-versed in the art of playoff war. The first game had to be an eye-opener for the Spurs, who are now down 0-1 and have lost home court advantage.