Popovich, Spurs celebrate win 1,000 at St. Elmo

Pacers George Hill and Ian Mahinmi, both Spurs draftees, were there for Popovich.

Most visiting NBA teams head straight to the airport after concluding business at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. It’s on to the next city.

Monday night, after Marco Belinelli drained a jumper in the left corner to lift the Spurs past the Pacers, 95-93, they had something special to celebrate. Their head coach Gregg Popovich, a sure Hall of Famer, had just earned his 1,000th career win.

The photo above says so much about Pop, and how both his players and staff feel about him. Sure, it’s a free dinner but they are choosing to spend additional time with coach.

Pacers George Hill and Ian Mahinmi both got their NBA careers started with the Spurs and have nothing but good things to say about their time down there. It’s no surprise that they joined coach to celebrate all he has accomplished.

Hill, the Broad Ripple graduate, was selected by the Spurs in 2008 and he learned under Popovich for three years.

“I enjoyed trying to help turn him into a point guard because he wasn’t really a point guard in a classic sense,” Popovich said 90 minutes before the game. “He’s more of a scorer. So it’s fun to watch him grow and understand what a point guard has to think about and do. That’s always fun.”

Added Hill: “I was blessed enough to learn from him and play with them group of guys.”

Ian Mahinmi also played with them for three years (2007-10), and still spends much of his free time in San Antonio.

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