“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 don’t know what’s going on outside the AT&T; Center.”
Hammon and the Spurs already had a lot to contend with against the defending league champion Lakers.
“(I was) trying to get the guys in the right spots,” Hammon said. “Trying to get them motivated. Obviously, it’s 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 DeRozan’s attempted layup and a subsequent attempted rebound by Drew Eubanks.
As he exited the court to applause from several of the team’s family members in attendance, Popovich pointed a finger at Hammon and had a succinct message.
“You got ‘em,” Hammon said. “See? He doesn’t treat us any differently than he does you guys.”
Said LeBron James: “Obviously she’s been paying her dues over the last few years and Coach Pop has given her the opportunity. … It’s a beautiful thing just to hear her barking out calls, barking out sets. She’s very passionate about the game. Congrats to her and congrats for our league.”
Hammon took over the team’s huddles during timeouts and walked the sideline following Popovich’s ejection. Hammon was the first full-time female assistant coach in league history.
“Well deserved,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “I’ve talked to her before and she really knows her stuff and obviously she’s here for a reason. She’s equipped, intelligent (and the) guys have great respect for her. She’s going to be a great coach one day.”
“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 Popovich’s frustration and the Spurs’ fortunes didn’t 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 Lakers took their first double-digit lead at 35-25 on Kyle Kuzma’s 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 don’t 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 Caruso’s 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 Aldridge’s 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.
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