TNT game analyst Chris Webber claimed the San Antonio Spurs were robbed in the closing seconds of Game 2 of the Thunder-Spurs series on Monday night, when an offensive foul wasn’t called on Dion Waiters when he pushed off Manu Ginóbili in attempting to pass the ball inbounds to Kevin Durant. “That was an offensive foul, a blatant offensive foul,” Webber said. “That was there for anyone to view. He was out of bounds. You can’t push anybody from there. … Terrible!”
When you first started interviewing Gregg Popovich during games, it seemed awkward from a viewer’s perspective. Over time, do you think you and Popovich have developed a better relationship? Craig Sager: “People always come up to me and say ‘God, that Popovich is a jerk.’ And I say ‘no he’s not.’ If I was him I wouldn’t want me coming into the middle of a huddle in a playoff game in the middle of the third and fourth quarter. You’re trying to make adjustments, you’re trying to win games, you’re trying to tell your assistant coaches what rotations to have and who’s gonna come in and do what. You’ve gotta stop and talk some reporter on the sideline? So I understand, but those are the (NBA) rules. As long as those are the rules, I’m going to keep approaching him at the end of the third quarter at home.”
You’re required to talk to the coach at times during the game, but is there a time that’s off limits? Craig Sager: “Last night (Game 1) … we have a 20-point rule. If a team is up or down by 20 points, you don’t interview the coach because it’s like the coach ahead is gloating and the coach behind is rubbing it in. But last night it was close to 40 and they (Turner Sports) said ‘you can do the interview with Pop.’ I go ‘What?’ They said ‘yeah the NBA approved it because you guys get along so good. Just don’t ask him specifics about the game.’ I go ‘what do you mean don’t ask him about the game?’ They told me (the NBA) doesn’t want that. I say ‘if I make it light-hearted he’s gonna be p***** as hell at me, because I don’t joke with him. I let him do what he wants. I don’t fire back.
In between signing autographs and posing for pictures, he listened to many of them tell him about their cancer-stricken loved ones. “So many people have been touched, hurt and affected by cancer, and I represent people fighting that evil disease,” he said Sunday, his voice cracking with emotion. “People want to see me out. They want to see me not give up and see me fight and not complain. I realize I have a responsibility now to keep fighting for all those people. I take that responsibility with 100 percent of my efforts and heart, and I’m going to fight for them all.”
Sager has long counted San Antonio as one of his favorite NBA cities. “I always got along great with everybody here,” he said. When healthy, Sager enjoyed jogging along the River Walk south of downtown. “I love that place,” he said of the River Walk, also home to some of his favorite restaurants and pubs.