MELBOURNE, Australia -- Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich has given Australian Patty Mills a cheeky whack, labelling the Boomers star a "pain in the a--" after he top-scored for the hosts with 19 points in Thursday night's international friendly between the two sides at Marvel Stadium.
Popovich and Mills have a long history, having spent eight years together at the San Antonio Spurs. The pair won an NBA championship together in 2014.
But speaking after the first of two World Cup warm-up games against Australia, one which Team USA prevailed 102-86, Popovich said Mills was a frustrating player to battle as an opponent.
"Playing him here, he's a real pain in the a--. He is," Popovich said. "He moves, he cuts, he's smart, he's tough. Yeah, he's a pain in the a--."
When the buzzer sounded to end the game, both Mills and Popovich could be seen embracing on the sideline.
"I just tried to intimidate him," Popovich joked. "I told him if you want a contract, let's talk. Let's make a deal here because you're not going to play like that against us."
Mills was also asked what was said during their conversation and he came up with a different story.
"He told me I sucked," Mills said. "[He said] you should never shoot those shots in San Antonio or I'll put you on a plane back to Australia."
The Boomers will face Team USA in the second friendly on Saturday afternoon at Marvel Stadium.