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Old 01-28-13, 05:32 AM
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Pop likley to coach West All Stars

The Spurs contingent at the All-Star Game in Houston on Feb. 17 might grow by week’s end.

The “magic number” that will put coach Gregg Popovich on the Western Conference bench along with forward Tim Duncan and point guard Tony Parker was one as of Sunday.

Scott Brooks, coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder, is ineligible to return as head coach for a second consecutive All-Star Game. That means only Popovich and Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro remain in the running to coach the West at the Toyota Center.

The coach of the team with the best record in each conference is accorded the All-Star coaching honor, with the provision a coach can’t repeat from one year to the next. Deadline for determining the coaches is Feb. 3, with records measured at the end of play that day.

Little more than a week ago, Del Negro seemed certain to coach the West, but his team went into a Sunday night home game against Portland having lost four consecutive games.

Popovich’s Spurs, meanwhile, have won eight straight. Their last three victories have come without Duncan (left knee injury) and, ironically, Popovich (illness) himself.

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