Spurs coach Popovich breaks NBA record


San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is congratulated by players after becoming the winningest coach in NBA history
Gregg Popovich is in his 26th NBA, all of which has been with the Spurs

Gregg Popovich broke the NBA career regular-season wins record for a coach as his San Antonio Spurs beat the Utah Jazz 104-102.

The triumph was the 1,336th of Popovich’s career and saw him surpass NBA legend Don Nelson for total wins.

The 73-year-old, who has led the Spurs to five NBA titles, said the record was “testament to a whole lot of people”.

“Basketball is a team sport,” he said. “All of us share in this record. It’s not mine. It’s ours.”

Popovich, who worked under Hall of Fame coach Nelson at Golden State three decades ago, saw his Spurs side battle back from 15 points down in the final quarter to deliver the record-making win.

The milestone victory was celebrated at home in front of fans who have cheered his sides on for more than a quarter of a century since taking charge of Spurs in 1996.

“Something like this does not belong to one individual,” said Popovich, who also led the US to Olympic gold last summer.

“You preach to your players that you have to do it together and that has certainly been the case in my life with all the wonderful players and coaches, staff I’ve been blessed with [and] the support of this wonderful city. The fans support us no matter what.”

In a video posted by the Golden State Warriors on social media, Nelson congratulated Popovich for breaking his old mark.

“I just wanted to tell you how proud I am of all your accomplishments and the wonderful things you’ve done for basketball worldwide,” Nelson said.

Dejounte Murray led the Spurs with 27 points, with Jakob Poeltl adding 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Meanwhile, Gary Trent Jr matched his season best with 42 points, which included hitting eight three-pointers, as the Toronto Raptors held on to beat the Phoenix Suns 117-112.

Pascal Siakam added 25 points and 10 assists for the Raptors.

Boston beat the Detroit Pistons 114-103 to earned their fifth successive win, with Jayson Tatum top scoring for Celtics with 31 points.

Miles Bridges scored 26 points to lead seven Charlotte scorers in double figures as the visiting Hornets condemned New Orleans to a fourth consecutive loss with a 142-120 victory, while the Memphis Grizzlies fought back to beat the New York Knicks 118-114.

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