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Hammon First Woman To Direct NBA Team; Lakers Beat Spurs

Hammon First Woman To Direct NBA Team; Lakers Beat Spurs

Becky Hammon became the first woman to direct an NBA team, taking over the San Antonio Spurs after coach Gregg Popovich was ejected in a 121107 loss to LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night.

SAN ANTONIO: Becky Hammon would have preferred a victory over history after becoming the first woman to coach an NBA team.

The assistant coach took over the San Antonio Spurs in the second quarter after coach Gregg Popovich was ejected in a 121-107 loss to LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night.

I try not to think of the huge picture and huge aspect of it because it can be overwhelming, Hammon said. I really have had no time to reflect. I have not had time to look at my phone. So, I dont know whats going on outside the AT&T Center.

Hammon and the Spurs already had a lot to contend with against the defending league champion Lakers.

James celebrated his 36th birthday with 26 points, eight assists and five rebounds in the Lakers third double-digit victory. The teams will complete the two-game set Friday night.

(I was) trying to get the guys in the right spots, Hammon said. Trying to get them motivated. Obviously, its a learning situation for all of us, but I would have loved to have walked out there with a win with the guys.

Popovich was ejected by official Tony Brown with 3:56 remaining in the second quarter. Popovich screamed at Brown and entered the court following a non-call on DeMar DeRozans attempted layup and a subsequent attempted rebound by Drew Eubanks.

As he exited the court to applause from several of the teams family members in attendance, Popovich pointed a finger at Hammon and had a succinct message.

You got em, Hammon said. See? He doesnt treat us any differently than he does you guys.

Said LeBron James: Obviously shes been paying her dues over the last few years and Coach Pop has given her the opportunity. … Its a beautiful thing just to hear her barking out calls, barking out sets. Shes very passionate about the game. Congrats to her and congrats for our league.

Hammon took over the teams huddles during timeouts and walked the sideline following Popovichs ejection. Hammon was the first full-time female assistant coach in league history.

Well deserved, Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. Ive talked to her before and she really knows her stuff and obviously shes here for a reason. Shes equipped, intelligent (and the) guys have great respect for her. Shes going to be a great coach one day.

A three-time All-American at Colorado State, Hammon played for the New York Liberty and San Antonio Stars in the WNBA as well as overseas before retiring to join Popovichs staff in 2014.

Even in timeouts with Pop as head coach, she is quick on her feet, DeRozan said. She tells us about defensive assignments, offensive sets we should run. Seeing her in the forefront, it would have definitely been cool to have won for her.

The Lakers contributed to Popovichs frustration and the Spurs fortunes didnt get much better after the veteran coach exited.

Dennis Schroder had 21 points, Anthony Davis had 20 points and eight rebounds for the Lakers. Wesley Matthews was 6 for 6 on 3-pointers in scoring 18 points off the bench.

The Spurs opened with a 9-2 run, including an uncontested drive through the lane by Keldon Johnson for a two-handed slam. The Lakers responded with an 11-0 run that promoted a timeout by Popovich.

The Lakers took their first double-digit lead at 35-25 on Kyle Kuzmas 3-pointer with 1:14 remaining in the first quarter.

Dejounte Murray had a career-high 29 points, seven assists and seven rebounds.

At the end of the day, it dont mean nothing, we lost, Murray said.

DeRozan added 23 for the Spurs, who lost their second straight after opening the season with two consecutive wins.


Lakers: PG Alex Caruso missed the game for health and safety protocols as mandated by the league. Lakers coach Frank Vogel did not elaborate on Carusos status. James was listed as questionable after spraining his left ankle sprain in the Lakers 115-107 loss to Portland on Monday. James played 35 minutes against the Spurs after scoring 29 points in 36 minutes against the Trail Blazers.

Spurs: Popovich said the Spurs will monitor Aldridges knee soreness on a day-to-day basis. Tim Duncan took over last season when Popovich was ejected against Portland on Nov. 16, 2019. The Hall of Famer opted not to return as assistant this season.