0522 GMT May 25, 2019
Like what everybody was yelling about after Manu Ginobili's overthrown pass, for example, The Associated Press reported.
He was just as fooled initially as the referees and didn't realize the ball had gone in the basket, the most bizarre bucket of San Antonio's 100-91 victory over the New York Knicks on Tuesday night.
"I did not, in all honestly. I did not," Popovich said.
"Then everybody started grabbing me and saying the ball went in. I said, 'Yeah, the ball went in!' I acted like I knew what was going on."
He almost always does.
Popovich earned his 1,176th victory, all with the Spurs. The five-time champion broke a tie with his friend George Karl.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 29 points and Kawhi Leonard had a season-high 25 for the Spurs. Ginobili finished with 12 points — three of them coming on what appeared to be a pass that went into the basket without everyone noticing.
"He makes magic happen," Aldridge said. "He's the only 40-year-old that can make plays like he does every night."
The Spurs beat the Knicks for the second time in six days and won for the fourth time in five games. They beat New York 119-107 on December 28.
Michael Beasley had 18 points for the Knicks, who were playing one of just four home games this month. They play 12 times on the road.
Kristaps Porzingis shot just 5 for 19 and was one of three Knicks to finish with 13 points.
"They just for 48 minutes played consistently," Porzingis said. "They talk on defense. And they also know when they need to push the pace and when they need to slow it down."
The Knicks led 29-25 after one quarter but couldn't break 20 points in either of the next two. The Spurs began to pull away midway through the third, which ended with confusion.
Ginobili, the Argentine veteran who got some loud cheers as he often does while playing in New York, appeared to be attempting a lob pass from beyond the three-point line to Aldridge, but the pass went over his head. Beasley grabbed it and began dribbling up the court as Ginobili and other Spurs waved frantically to the officials that the ball had actually gone into the basket.
"It went so clean that nobody saw it and I went crazy because once you make a shot like that, you want it to count," Ginobili said. "So yeah, it was very awkward, but common sense, I guess. The refs reviewed it and we got it."
Referees eventually credited the basket to Ginobili — but only for two points. The basket was reviewed after the quarter ended and counted as a three-pointer, giving San Antonio an 81-67 lead.
Leonard played 30 minutes for the first time this season. It was just his seventh game after his return from a quadriceps injury. He shot 8 for 20 and grabbed eight rebounds.
"I felt good," he said.
"Still got a little bit of ways to go as far as my conditioning, legs, just the whole rhythm of the game, figuring out things."