To say that Gregg Popovich and Mike D’Antoni have history would be an understatement. The two know each other very well, especially in the playoffs. Popovich hasn’t just been consistent when facing D’Antoni in the postseason, he’s been outright dominant.
Popovich has won all four postseason series that he’s coached against D’Antoni in his career. That’s twice as many series wins as he has against any other coach he has faced.
The Houston Rockets are the third franchise that D’Antoni has coached when facing Popovich -- the others are the Suns (2004-05, 2006-07 and 2007-08) and the Lakers (2012-13). The last series they faced off in, the San Antonio Spurs won every game by double digits and D’Antoni’s Lakers didn’t crack 100 points in a game.
Popovich has won five straight games against D’Antoni dating back to the 2007 Western Conference first round.
This season’s Spurs team is the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, and the Rockets are the No. 3 seed. In series where the Spurs were the higher-seeded team -- the 2008 first round and the 2013 first round -- Popovich has only lost one game.
The last time the two met in the conference semifinals (the Warriors and Jazz also met in the other series that season), the No. 3-seeded Spurs knocked off the No. 2-seeded Suns in six games.
The only coach Popovich has face more than D’Antoni is Phil Jackson (26 games). If Popovich wins this series, he can tie Phil Jackson for most wins against an opposing coach in the playoffs. Jackson defeated Jerry Sloan 20 times in 27 meetings.