Jayson Tatum's Team USA coach remembers experience together fondly


Winning a gold medal together seems to have created a lasting memory for Gregg Popovich when it comes to Jayson Tatum.

Popovich, the longtime San Antonio Spurs coach who doubles as Team USA's bench boss, spoke about his experience with the Boston Celtics star ahead of their meeting Friday night at the AT&T Center.

Via Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, Popovich said that Tatum was a "joy" last summer in Tokyo.

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"Jayson was spectacular," Popovich said. "He along with [Kevin Durant] became our go-to guys."

Tatum finished second on scoring for Team USA with 15.2 points per contest -- all off the bench -- trailing only Durant's 20.7.

"I’m indebted to Jayson and had a really had a good time with him there because he was a great teammate and played wonderfully for us," Popovich said.

Back stateside, Tatum has played some of his best basketball against Popovich's team. In seven career games against the Spurs, Tatum has averaged 22.4 points per contest, tied for his fifth-most against any opponent -- including his 60-point effort in April, which tied Larry Bird for the most in a single game in franchise history.