Spurs assistant coach Mike Budenholzer does not own Gregg Popovich's Hall of Fame résumé or the gravitas that comes with being the longest tenured coach in American professional sports.
Nor does the mild-mannered Budenholzer have Popovich's cantankerous way with the media, or his wine collection.
But handed Popovich's job for a day Wednesday, Budenholzer did demonstrate a mastery of his longtime boss' vocabulary.
With the Spurs down by four after a putrid first half in a 106-102 win over New Orleans, Budenholzer marched into the locker room at the AT&T Center and did his best Popovich impression.
"He dropped a couple F-bombs at halftime," Stephen Jackson said of Budenholzer, coaching in place of the ill Popovich. "You know that's not Bud's character, but he was upset."
According to Manu Ginobili, Budenholzer's halftime homage to the 63-year-old Popovich was spot-on, with but one omission.
"That vein on the side of his head wasn't popping out," Ginobili said.
Spurred by Budenholzer's Popovichian rant — and boosted by a season-high 25 points from Tiago Splitter (on 10-of-11 shooting) and 24 points and a season-best 13 assists from Tony Parker — the Spurs found the focus to rally past the persistent Hornets.
The result was their sixth straight victory, their 14th straight at home and their 19th in a row at home against the Southwest Division.
After the Hornets scored 64 points and shot 62.3 percent in the opening two quarters, the Spurs (34-11) limited them to only 38 points and 32.6-percent shooting after halftime.
Eric Gordon was the poster child for this tale of two halves. After netting 17 points, the Hornets guard went scoreless on only two shots in the second.
"Everybody was a little disappointed in our defense the first half," said Budenholzer, whose team outscored New Orleans 66-36 in the paint. "To step up and really have a good two quarters is the biggest thing we take away from it."
On a day in which the Spurs seemed caught in the middle of a news cycle too fast even for the Twitter universe, their ability to keep their heads from spinning was an accomplishment.
Wild win caps wild day
San Antonio Express-News | Jan 24