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Old 10-31-2008, 06:51 AM   #1
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Talking Shaq gets last laugh on Spurs’ "cowardly hack" joke

Shaq gets last laugh on Spurs’ "cowardly hack" joke
Excerpt: Jerry Brown, East Valley Tribune
Thursday, October 30, 2008

SAN ANTONIO - With Shaquille O’Neal’s “coward” comment still ringing in the ears of Spurs fans before Wednesday’s game, a reporter asked San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich if he would consider a mock “Hack-a-Shaq” on the first possession of the game to jokingly prove that he wasn’t backing down from his strategy in last year’s playoffs.

Popovich stopped. He ran his fingers through his new white beard. And then he started to grin.

“You know, that’s not a bad idea now that I think about it. It’s a better suggestion than any of our (assistant) coaches have had all summer,” Popovich said. “I could get a couple of guys in front of me and act like they were holding me back … a typical NBA fight.”

Funny guy. He was just kidding, of course. Right?

Sure enough, the Suns won the tip and ex-Sun Michael Finley wrapped his arms around O’Neal to stop play five seconds into the game — a nonshooting foul. O’Neal quickly looked over at Popovich, who gave him two thumbs-up and the two shared a laugh.

“Classic Pop. I loved it,” Steve Nash said. “It would have been a fine if he didn’t do it.”

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