Hammon first woman to coach NBA team; Lakers beat Spurs

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San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon breaks from a huddle during a timeout in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers in San Antonio, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. Hammon became the first woman to direct an NBA team, taking over the Spurs after coach Gregg Popovich was ejected in a 121-107 loss to the Lakers. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

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 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.

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, 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.