You don’t become a legendary coach like Gregg Popovich without knowing how to give some sage advice. That’s precisely what he did for Jayson Tatum on Saturday night.
Tatum hadn’t been overly impactful early on during the Tokyo Olympics, which got him relegated to a bench role. He provided a nice jolt Saturday though, dropping 27 points off the bench in a Team USA victory over the Czech Republic in their final qualifying round game.
Turns out, Popovich had a joking message for Tatum.
“I just told Jayson to act like he’s playing the Spurs,” Popovich said, via The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn. “Every time he plays us he scores 90.”
Popovich isn’t entirely wrong, either. Of all the teams in the NBA, Tatum averages his fourth-most points (22.4) per contest against the Spurs. That trails only the New Orleans Pelicans (25.9), Portland Trail Blazers (25.8) and Los Angeles Clippers (23.0)
Tatum’s next opportunity to play like he’s facing the Spurs will be in the knockout round.