Pop Can’t Dance Out Of This One


Did you have the beer and soda on ice? The sandwiches made? The pizza ordered? Your favorite chair smack in front of the big screen TV?

To watch Matt Bonner, Gary Neal, Patty Mills and Nando de Colo battle the defending champion Heat?

Look, I’m a big believer in Gregg Popovich as a great coach and a down-to-earth guy. I’ve had him bark at me when he didn’t like a question. I shared a dance floor with him for a couple of really horrible versions of the tango one night in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

But Pop is flat wrong about sending home Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Danny Green ahead of the marquee game in Miami.

“We’re getting tired,” Popovich said before Wednesday night’s win at Orlando. “We’ve had a six-day trip and a 10-day trip. Usually you don’t have that in one month.”

Sorry, Pop. Tired is not an excuse. Not for every other team that has had to endure a grueling road trip or the vagaries of an often Byzantine NBA travel map. Not for the Spurs.

From a strictly Spurs-centric view of the world, it makes perfect sense to lighten the load as much as possible on the veteran Big Three that forms the core of the team’s championship hopes. That’s why it is wise to carefully manage minutes in each game of the schedule, as Popovich has successfully done over the past several years to extend Duncan’s career. If a game is safely decided one way or the other, there’s no problem with getting any veteran to the bench to save his legs for the next night in the voracious schedule.

But to simply blow off a game entirely is not acceptable. Not when fans have paid good money for tickets. Not when there might be one kid in Miami who is a Duncan or Ginobili or Parker fan and is hoping to see his hero for the first time. Not when the integrity of the game insists that you try to win. And the fact that he has done it before in resting up his team for the playoffs is no legitimate excuse either.

The Spurs would already have been playing without the injured Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Jackson. With the Fleeing Foursome hitting the road early that means San Antonio dressed just nine players to face Miami.

Pop will say his responsibility is only to the franchise that signs his checks. But the success of that franchise comes from being a part of a larger enterprise, the league.

Pop will say that his job is to worry about playing national TV games in June when everything is on the line, not on a Thursday night in November. But those national TV games pay the rent, pay the salaries of players and coaches.

Pop will say that his job is to win championships, not friends. But then the Spurs can’t continue to go around poor-mouthing their lack of respect and notoriety on the national stage.

Pop will say a lot of things that seem to make sense when viewed from a bunker behind the Alamo. But it’s just a bad dance that looks worse than his tango.


  1. apexofkryptos says:

    HA! To all you people making the points against Pop that are based in “the integrity of the game”, or how disappointed the fans will be, or disrespecting the Heat, or anything else for that matter. Not that you are wrong in your point of view, but this: Gregg Popovich’s job description does not include ANY of those points of view. No really, think about it. If your team’s coach is spending one moment worried about what the fans, or the sponsors, or the network carrying a game, or David Stern, or anyone else might think about who he plays or does not play in a game, then he has spent one moment too long. There is a place for that worry, but it is NOT WITH THE COACH. GET IT? The folks that should be worried about that should have gotten together long ago and made some kind of rules about these situations. The fact that they haven’t already pretty much tells you that they know they can’t get away with it in the long run. How do you even write the rule in a clear and reasonable manner? Popovich is right, right, right. If what he did is wrong, then make it a rule. Until then, he is right. GET IT?


  2. nacho says:

    just one thing. if the fine is ok for you, please tell us why the other coaches that rest players at the end of the year were not fined. because at the end of the year is ok? when “the ok line” is going to start? and when coaches limit minutes of their best players? how many would be ok and how many would be contrary to NBA best interest?
    YOUR REASON MAKES NO SENSE. please think it 2 minutes and you will understand that David Stern cannot say who is playing, how many minutes and why. This is Coaches job, not his.
    by the way, Pop’s job is done very good, i would say much better than the others. Their best players are safe thanks to his way of thinking, not yours not David Stern. Your way of thinking is the one that injured Derrick Rose playing garbage minutes.

  3. Matt says:

    How can a decision that should in the shorter term help Pop’s team challenge for a championship this season and in the longer term elongate the careers of his star players be a bad decision. Resting players here and there can reduce the wear and tear on their bodies allowing them to play at a higher level for longer. It will help keep his team winning and will help keep fans happy. Its a shame that fans won’t get to see some players play but winning a championship would help remedy that.
    Also, what a lot of people don’t seem to realise or understand, but with Pop not playing his stars the rest of the squad get more minutes on the floor. They get to play against one of the best teams in the NBA, last years champions, they gain more experience and understanding of what it takes to play against the very best and this will make them better players. It will improve the Spurs squad help them to challenge.
    Plus why is it disrespectful for the big players to miss a game but okay for them to miss large portions of the game in Blow out wins or losses?

  4. kiko says:

    What if the Spurs did this to Washington Bullets or Charlotte Bobcats are we here debating on this? probably not, and when the NBA and the sports media care and or suddenly care about the Spurs? Some argument is that the Spurs cheated the fans for sending home 4 of their starters on the road, Miami fans come to the game to watch expecting their stars and team to beat the Spurs and not to watch the result to be the other way around that almost happen. So whats next for the Spurs? Pope David Stern will tell Pop what play to execute…how many minutes they going to play…be at the airport at that time…what food they are going to eat and where…be in bed before ten pm…can only drive Hyundai cars…etc…etc…what Pop did was what’s best for the Spurs franchise, for the team for the players especially for the Spurs fans. Spurs fan already accept this kind of Pop’s tactics.

  5. Tony Snow says:

    stern needs to hang it up.

    its pops team.. he should be able to do whatever he wants

  6. Jerry Dawson says:

    This article is absolutely disrespectful to the players that played on the court.

    “Did you have the beer and soda on ice? The sandwiches made? The pizza ordered? Your favorite chair smack in front of the big screen TV? To watch Matt Bonner, Gary Neal, Patty Mills and Nando de Colo battle the defending champion Heat?”


  7. Patrick says:

    In my opinion, the fine doesn’t make any sense! People are saying that he didn’t want to win the game. However, as far as I remember last night, the Spurs were very close to getting the W in Miami with their ‘reserve team’. That just shows how good they are and even without 6 (4 rested and 2 injured) of their best players, they still have a good team which can compete against the best teams. The NBA is always talking about putting up a show and I think that’s exactly what happened yesterday. The Spurs put up a show by showing everyone their strength off the bench. We all have to face that in a season with 82 games, it is impossible to play over 40 minutes each game especially if you have back to back games. So I don’t see why a coach can’t decide about his rotation? That’s his job! There is no such rule that says your star player has to play the most minutes every game. And if that would exist, then Poppovich would definitely not say that one of his Big Three is his star player. The NBA should finally recognize that Basketball is a game played by teams and not by individuals!!!

  8. Anthony says:

    If you look at the schedule, the spurs were set up to get defeated by Miami.

  9. Trevor James says:

    I have no respect for Fran Blinebury anymore. Don’t go around criticizing the best coach to ever bless the league. Same to David Stern. This man knows what he’s doing. Would you rather they miss this regular season game that holds no weight or their very likely match-up in the finals? Think about that one…

  10. Nick says:

    It’s ridiculous stern would fine a team for making player related decisions regarding playing time. Would he have fined them if the players were taken out in the fourth quarter… Does he fine teams for putting in backups at the end of blow out games… What does this say to the players who did play, “You’re good enough to be in the league but not good enough to play a whole game.” This is stupid. I could care less about either of these teams, but when someone is supposed to be a commissioner makes a decision like this, he needs to rethink the date of his retirement. I’ve had better commissioners in fantasy leagues. stern has always shown preference to the “now” teams and the big money market teams. If this Spurs were the New York Spurs or Los Angeles Spurs, this would not have been and issue at all.

  11. VYap says:

    The fact that the Spurs with that lineup, they almost beat the defending champs is a clear message that, Miami is over-hyped and not that good. Look at the lineup the spurs played with and they almost won seriously, if there are fines, it should be given to Miami for not routing a team with that kind of lineup.

  12. Matt Hunter says:

    No one knows thatt stern said that the spurs were boring uninteresting and were bringing his tv ratings down and people only go to there games if there playing the lakers or heat. he said people pay money to watch lebron and d wade play not to see manu tim and tony play, so popovich sent them back home because they had the game aired on TNT

  13. Marcello says:

    Pop must not be blamed .
    Players are human not machines.
    Do you really want to see Machine-like sprtsmen M. Blinebury ?
    Like Lance Armstrong ?
    Is it really want you want to shw to your fan kids.
    And finally, has the spurs team been ridiculous in the game ?
    With all these Miami “Stars” !!!

  14. San Antonio Spurs fined by league? Stern, Down please! says:

    San Antonio Spurs fined by league! It’s Unbelievable!
    Even football team can change their roster when they have a tough schedule, why can’t in basket game? Because of the monopoly of the NBA?

    Spurs fans, All fans whose really love basketball, take action to make David Stern step down!

    David Stern, Step Down !

  15. Bob says:

    80-90% of people polled (and over 90% in one poll) say what Pop did last night was fine. Get over yourselves, cHeat fans and Spurs haters.

  16. Justin c Jones says:

    What is everybody talking about!!!
    Pop has done this in the past I don’t blame Pop for doing what he did if not the Heat would have had a bad night So everyone should be saying lucky Heat

  17. Diego says:

    Almost all of these comments left on here are completely ignorant. At the end of it all every team needs to play 82 games in the same amount of time. There will be a point where the Heat are playing 4 games in a week and the spurs only 5 in two weeks. Whatever the case may be, these players are payed MILLIONS to play the game! Read that again….MILLIONS! We have soldiers overseas getting paid less than 1/10 of that. You think they can say “hey its been a long week let me take a day off?” The NBA also can contracts with TNT and ABC to have these games televised nationally because their supposed to be the best games. Who cares if the spurs almost beat the heat thats not the point! Pop acts as if his team is the only team with veterans who play these tough schedules. What happen to the spurs last year in the playoffs when he played duncan half the minutes he usually plays during the regular season? SWEPT by OKC!

    Anyways, HEAT will win it all again!

    • james says:

      I agree with you it’s gonna come a time when the heats are going to play 4 game in a week or any other team and at the end of the day you still have to play 82 games.and yes the spurs bench played miami all the way but they lost and my point is you win by 5 or 10 a win is a win miami al the way baby!!!!

  18. It's a game... says:

    They are professional athletes who get paid to play a game. I get tired at my job too, and my boss doesn’t send us home so we can rest up for the next day. Do your job, and if it tires you out, oh well, welcome to life, you make 20 million dollars to put a ball in a basket and your gonna complain your tired? Get real.

    • Matt Hunter says:

      they werent tired you just have to reasearch it that stern doesnt like the spurs and was saying that boring, no one pays to watch them, they make his tv ratings go down etc.

    • Anthony says:

      Oh god, here we go again if a stupid person saying, “You get paid millions to put a ball in a basket, get real.” Listen up, it’s a sport, it physical prowess at its best. If people need to “get real,” no one would be attending basketball games, or any sport for that matter. Plumbers get paid to do things we can ALL do if we figure out how to do it. I’ve never used a plumber or any one of an identical profession in my life, because I already know how to fix pretty much any utility. So, your little soliloquy was rather stupid, in and of itself. Get real pal.

  19. over it says:

    And yet they only went down by 5

  20. Manny says:

    The argument that people paid money for tickets to see certain players is stupid. When you buy a ticket it ONLY guarantees entry into the facility. THAT’S it. Nothing else. Coach Pop’s responsibility is to his team. He is the coach and his management style is centered around his team and putting them in the best possible position to play late into June/July. For Pop, it’s a chess match. He’s not going to be given all stars like Spolstra or whatever his name is & expect to win. Coach Pop and the SA Spurs have a long history of developing players through their system. Coach Pop also has a history of winning with his game management style. Mr. Stern, let your coaches coach their teams as they see fit.

    • Diego says:

      Actually no your completely wrong. If you actually bought tickets to a basketball game you would notice tickets are more expensive based on the team thats coming into town. You can get 10 dollar tickets to see Heat vs Pistons then pay 100 to see them vs OKC. Get it right

  21. dblz2 says:

    A great game by the Spurs. Missing their top 6 players, they still played with a lot of heart and nearly won the game. Maybe Pops should bench the old farts more often. Really give Stern some indigestion.
    How about we eliminate fouling out and replace that rule with unlimited personal fouls. Get rid of two technical ejections or flagrant 2 ejections. That way those ticketholders can get their moneys worth. What a bunch of malarkey.
    If the Spurs had not played the way they did, to win, and just showed up to cruise, then there’d be something to say. They played like champs, right on Pops!!!

  22. ekim says:

    I don’t think those who are bashing Pop on this one have really thought about the implications of their argument. Let’s be honest here, Stern wants advertising dollars from exciting games on Thursday night TV. Pop doesn’t give a f$%# and won’t make a decision he thinks is bad for his team just because they’re on national TV. What if, early in the fourth quarter, the team who is getting their butt kicked puts in their bench guys, is Stern gonna fine them for that too, because no one wants to watch that. What about when a player gets injured, but Stern insists that the big game must be the big game and the injured guy has to play? He is getting into ugly territory here- the coaches and teams must retain the ability to play or sit whomever they choose on any night, and Stern needs to think about the game, not its marketability. The day he is no longer involved in the NBA cannot come soon enough.

  23. Justin says:

    I sure had fun watching the game last night. In fact my NBA Game Time blacked out the game and even knowing the big three +1 wasnt playing I still drove to my brothers house to watch the game on TV. I am a Rockets fan but after the spurs performance and coaching last night I hope the best for the Spurs.

  24. jfack says:

    i think it was smart and there shouldnt be such a big deal about it.

  25. Canoli says:

    Screw that argument that “the fans paid to see the stars, blah blah blah”. The point is, even without the Spur’s stars, it was a great game nonetheless. And if you can’t appreciate a great basketball game like that, then you’re better off watching something else.

  26. Jordan says:

    I cant believe people are really saying Pop made a bad decision in this. They were just ending a road trip and not just any road trip, a LONG road trip in which they played very good teams. Last night was a testament to the fact that the Spurs are still a small market team and people hardly pay any attention to them. Coach Pop does this all the time and its always with different teams. In case anyone forgot there have been more ridiculous things in the past. Remember last season when he rested Tim for a game and said in the official injury report that he was, “OLD”. Yes I know there is a difference between now and then but if your players are in their mid thirties they need rest. If Lebron, Wade, and Bosh were 36 years old a piece I can’t imagine anybody thinking it is a bad decision to rest them. Look at what Pop did and think about it. I read somewhere in this blog that he is ignorant. He is most definitely not ignorant and if you think he is then you need to check the dictionary for the definition of ignorant. Pop is very fierce and he is a great guy. I have met him numerous times and he has had nothing but good things to say about everything. I played in a game with Tony one time for a camp and the only thing he did was help. Not demonstrative, or “GIVE ME SOME NASTY,” nothing. I have the upmost respect for Pop and whatever he does. I know I sound like I think I know everything but see it from a strategic standing rather than a fans. there is a point where strategy is greater than the show.

  27. spurs fan 101 says:

    terribly sorry i didn’t realise that the coach of a team wasn’t allowed to help his team win, oh wait thats what he gets paid for!

  28. Bert says:

    I think it was a great move. Save these players from fatigue and possible injury so they can play out the season. Also the “subs” almost beat the heat, and that was a good game to watch hoping to see the subs beat Lebron.

  29. Bandinabox says:

    I think it was a good move by Pop. Im glad he had the balls to stand up to the politics of the NBA. The funny thing is, Spurs almost won that game if it wasn’t for the help of the refs near the end with the ghost foul calls for Lebron and the no calls all favoring Miami. Why waste your energy on a fixed game. Let’s face it, Miami is overrated and is heavily favored by NBA because of $$. NBA isn’t a real sport anymore. It’s the new WWE for TNT. The last Celtics and Nets game proved it to me.

  30. SG says:

    The only one who is flat wrong here is you and your article.

    By benching the Spurs you:
    A) See how well your bench (and the future of your team) is. Which almost beat the Heat…and should have if the refs called the Heat on a reach in foul at the end of the game. TOTAL BS!
    B) Rest your starters.
    C) Don’t give away what offensive scheme you will throw at the Heat If/When you meet them in the finals.

    The Spurs are the BEST team in the league right now. They are the deepest. The play to win. The chemistry is off the charts.

    Pop and the whole organization are a shining example of how teams should run and play basketball.

    Go Spurs!

  31. Jhagler says:

    I think its being blown out of proportion. Its a smart move and thats that. Miami barely won anyway so maybe the fans that were at the game should be thankful.

  32. MJ says:

    Being a Miami fan since day one…and watching basketball for 15 years before that with no team I am a Basketball fan first..As I said last year during the lockout, we as fans hold the upper hand and we don’t exercise it. I am getting a bit tired of everyone (including my home team) saying these games in November are meaningless…they are not it costs a pretty penny to go see these guys play…thankfully at the last moment I declined to purchase tickets for the game..If they want to be blatant about it go for it we fans should also…ask for a refund when this happens again or if November games don’t matter or as Bosh likes to say no one will remember them then we shoudl all as fans forget the regular season and only go to the games in June… %$&* u and the horse you rode in on..Kobe never takes nights off, neither does LeBron…I see it as a lack of respect and while I get the rationale (its not rocket science) it isn’t right..I hope the Spurs get pummeled when the games count…Go Grizzlies…it would be sweet to see Memphis rout the “rested 4” on Saturday night

    Bottom Line…rationale aside it’s bad for the game

  33. Phoenix says:

    Psychologically Spurs won this game. Their 2nd unit is ready to play the playoffs and help the starters. Another 5 games or more using their 2nd unit is scary. They can beat teams weaker than Miami They’re building up confidence in every game and knowing their strength and weaknesses. Usually a coach plays his WHOLE 2nd unit during garbage time, not the Spurs team. Diaw, Jackson, Neal, Splitter, and Mills are starters in their own right or in other teams they join.

  34. Eli_boostme says:

    If he wants to rest his players as coach he has the right to do that! If thats his stratagy then thats that, its not that big of a deal, theres not a rule that you must play your best players every game. Why is it not a big deal to do this at the end of the season? Its not there and it isnt here. I wouldnt play them the next game either just to put it in everyone whose flipping out faces

  35. Alex - nyc says:

    David Stern is a fool. Popovich has every right to rest his players, as a coach it is his call to make. It was the sensible thing to do after his 35+ year old players played 5 road games in something like 6 days.

  36. Frank says:

    David Stern I hate you. Please go away forever.

  37. Jojo says:

    Well done mr. stern.

  38. Bictor says:

    Popovich it was correctly in his decision, but if SAS won in Miami you said the same? Maybe Stern needed to speak after the game, because Popovich show her Team B is better than other teams B and teams ( others teams that have worse team).

  39. TRU*NBAFAN says:

    What would have the arguement been like if the Spurs bench had pulled off the win? I understand it was televised but was it not exciting enough???? You don’t think everyone stayed tuned and in their seats in the arena to see if the Spurs bench was going to beat the reigning champs???

    To the point of some folks that may have wanted to see Duncan, Parker or Ginobilli, alot of maquee players don’t play in pre-seasoning games or play mediocre, are we going to start fining them too?

    This is much ado about nothing. This was a tough game and too bad if it made the Heat look bad because they barely beat the bench. In this day and age of the new nba (not my dad’s nba) where alot of these STARS get away with so much. I say Let Pop be Pop!!

  40. Vancity says:

    Anyone who has ever played the game knows that when you’re tired is when the injuries happen. Lets say they play and then one of them is out for the year…then where are you at? I’m, just saying…

  41. plus says:

    Pop was a genius to this and it is why he and his organization is one of the best in sports history. I’m a Spurs fan and have been one since 1999 when I began following my favorite NBA player ever David Robinson. This is typical Pop and if the Spurs win it all in hind-sight everyone will either praise moves like this or simply overlook it. Spurs fans who actually enjoy the team and the quality of play loved the move. The results we love too! Think about. Lost by 4 or 5 points to the defending champs? Come on people. Stick to your entertaining, buzz-ball if you have problem. We Spurs fans will continue to support decisions like this because we’re winners! We’re champions! #SpursNation

  42. jose machado says:

    i don´t see any problem cause i enjoyed the game, the Spurs B team gaved a good show, and with a little scoring consistence they could won that game, i understand the thing about the show and about the fans, but i´m used, since it´s normal this kind of rotations in soccer, however, in any sport, the management of a team should be of club and coach entire responsability, cause if they want to do those rotations they just can lie, and then, the league wiil get doctors to see any possible injury?! LOL

  43. Andy says:

    Fran Blinebury… or is it BLIND-BARELY! You obviously don’t get it by writing this worthless story nor have you ever ran up and down a court 4 out of 5 nights on a road trip. Or did you go to a writer’s convention in Podunk that required you to develop writer’s cramp for one week. I know that when I was in grade school that I had to write “due to the fact (for whatever reason we misbehaved)” for one week straight… line after line throughout the day for 6 to 7 hours straight as punishment. That alone was a writer’s cramp nightmare. Now, I’m not a fan of the Spurs, but Greg Popovich is a championship coach who obviously knows what’s best for his team despite what TV or ticket sales dictates. You and David Stern are what’s wrong with this society. You’re trying to look good by adding fire where it doesn’t need to be added and David Stern is trying to “Roger Goodell” his power that no one cares for. Coach Pop could’ve probably just sat his starters rather than flying them home but he would’ve faced the same scrutiny. Either way, I applaud the coach. Who care’s what you or Stern think. At least I don’t look like an idiot who defends the commissioner who’s already and idiot.

  44. Joe says:

    There is no rule against benching your starters, that power is reserved for the coach. The reserves got a decent amount of playing time and Pop got to see what they could do which is important for the Spurs whose core of Duncan and Ginobli are gaining in the years. As for the “Hurt” fans the game still went down to the wire till the 4th where the Heat took the lead. What if Duncan, Parker, and Ginobli had been playing? Im not sure Heat fans want to know.

  45. srgpsycho says:

    Only issue I saw was the fact that the players who were held out weren’t in attendance. Otherwise was a enjoyable game to watch. I enjoyed seeing this new talent play vs the old antique’s lol. Entertaining stuff. Sterns needs to stop playing general manager of the Spurs & take care of NBA actions which are sub par as I see it. This did nothing but good for the Spurs as they have many older players who are in need of rest & Pop. needed to see whose ready to fill the holes when needed. If the NBA fines S.A.S. they’re stepping over the line as to the best of my knowledge the McCombs ownership group still owns the franchise! If you want to make the calls in SA then pony up NBA & buy out the franchise but until you do take a back seat & police you’re own poor actions! Slap their hands for not bringing the players mentioned & move on. It’s not the 1st time someone sat a group of players so stop this nonsense in exchange for a word I’m not able to use. I thought the game was competitive & even if some of these kids get waived by SA others may now be interested in their services. I see no wrong other than the fab 4 or whoever were a no show.

  46. Dollar Bill says:

    Pop said they had BOTH a six day road trip and a 10 day road trip with 4 games in 5 days at the end of the last trip.
    What has not been mentioned, as an ex-baller in H.S. and College, tired bodies are more likely to GET INJURED.
    Pop made the best decision for the health and welfare of his players, the team, and the NBA.
    Nobody gets to see injured players.

  47. ImJusSayin says:

    So when Miami visits and leaves its stars at home? When other coaches start employing these tactics? When fans no longer go to games because not getting what you pay for makes any customer look for a new provider, will the idiots that defend this move still be watching Basketball or jump on the next ride? I have always hated stern, the politics employed to showcase individuals has destroyed the integrity of the game (star calls and media hype), but here I have to say he is right this is unacceptable behavior.

  48. Nicole says:

    Um hello!!! Pop made an awesome decision, and our b and c squad outplayed Miami most of the game. You obviously have no idea what real basketball playing is about. Yes, Miami is the defending champs….in a shortened season!!!! Spurs have a big game coming up, spurs also have one of the worse schedules this season. I mean come on, we just played four games in five nights. Let me also provide you with a quote said by Adam Silver, the league’s commisioner in waiting, “Strategic resting of particular players on particular nights is within the discretion of the teams.”
    So who cares if it was Miami, who cares if it was a nationally televised game, did you not watch it, did you not see that Miami did not blow out our bench players. Pop didnt make a mistake, you did by writing this silly article.

  49. Phoenix says:

    A lot of us have been saying for years that coach Pop’s big 3 players are OLD. Now we’re questioning why he rested his OLD players after playing 4 road games in five in 5 days. Think of their schedule after this game, 2 games (one against Memphis) at home, then another 4 games on the road. When fatigue comes in, injuries happen. Coach Pop doesn’t care about standings, I’m sure he’s entering the playoffs, only the health of his players…like a father caring for his children.

  50. srgpsycho says:

    S.A.S. played competitive ball so stop calling Pop. out! Miami is lucky they got by. Pop. got a good look at players he needs to know about anyway which in the long run of the season needs to be understood. Rested his tired horses. Nothing but common sense I saw. The only complaint I could see is that the players were missing in attendance. In the future I guess the players will have to become accustomed to sleeping on the end of the bench. Maybe that will satisfy Sterns. I liked seeing the different players anyway & felt they put on a good showing. Nice game S.A. Surprised you didn’t come out on top last evening. Maybe the answer Pop. is to play your horses till they’re all broken/dead then finish the rest of the season playing you’re bench players full time. If Sterns has his way this could become a reality! How about policing actions needed rather than this B.S.

  51. Sparky says:

    Stern you need to back off. You don’t care about who wins and who loses do you? What rule did he break? Okay what’s the difference in bringing them in, suiting them up, and letting them play 2 minutes before he sits them? Are you going to sanction him then because he didn’t play them enough?
    Get a grip Stern. What the hell do you care anyway. When the Spurs were winning championships you were out there in public stating you would rather see the Lakers or the Knicks in it. So a small market team isn’t your priority anyway. You have made that clear. Remember the Lakers vs. the Lakers statement that came out of your mouth. The only fans that really care are Spurs and Heat fans. Spurs fans understand Pop’s decision and the Heat won. I doubt that anyone left that game disappointed. It wasn’t decided until the last 20 seconds. Get a life you jerk.

  52. BIG-FUNdamental says:

    would all you grumpy “fans” want your money back if a star were injured and could not play a game you paid to see? You pay to watch the team play!! Injuries, illness and all sorts of stuff just happens… you have to expect that when you get sports tickets. It was a great game. Way better than if Tim, Manu and Tony just played 10 minutes and sat down the rest of the way. BTW Pop HAND CRAFTED two of his big 3! Not stole ’em!!

  53. LOL Fran says:

    LOL how dumb must you feel after last night’s game neded up being one of the more entertaining PT matchups in recent history? And how much more disrespectful could you POSSIBLY be towards the players that did play? You tryin’g to say that players on an NBA roster aren’t worthy of playing? You come off as a huge tool.

  54. BIG-FUNdamental says:

    I hope when Miami comes down here to SA, TX they leave their big 3 at home… because the Spurs would destroy them for an easy win!!

  55. Chris says:

    It’s dumb to see the david stern get all upset. All he ever care about is the money. Pop is the coach of the team, he can rest whoever he wants. There’s nothing wrong with resting guys, it’s a long season. His players are older and it’s smart to allow them to rest. Only problem i have is Stern, 2014 hurry up and get here.

  56. Aaron says:

    I can’t believe how the hall of famer, perhaps one of the best coaches in the game of basketball, is being criticized for doing his job right – protect and do what is best for the team. For those of you who thought the game was boring, you clearly do not understand San Antonio’s basketball…

  57. spacecity ballers says:

    I wish the politicians in washington would run the country like Pop runs his team. By looking for the long term and the future instead short term for the satisfaction the mob. Pop for president lol

  58. thekingo522 says:

    I think the Heat should do the same. Let’s rest Lebron, Wade and Bosh vs OKC in the Christmas game. Let’s rest them against the Lakers in January and let’s rest them in ALL national televised games. Let’s see if these same fans that are defending Pop would defend Eric Spolstra. The Heat doesn’t need to win vs the top teams to make the playoffs so rest Lebron, Wade and Bosh against the elite team so they are “fresh” for the playoffs

    • jose machado says:

      u have a point there, but i would also agree if eric does that, however if a Miami B team can give a good game like the Spurs B team yesterday i´ll not mind, cause i enjoy the game, and i like to see surprises, we are just forgetting one thing, the respect that professional players deserves, cause everybody wanna play, many of them have other thoughts than being a guy only for some minutes and in the end it´s a court with 2 baskests a ball and 5 against 5.

      • Jerry says:

        And if you like music and not specific musicians why not go see a cover band instead of your actual favorite band. For many people it’s not just about basketball it’s about people who we have grown to love and want to see play duh. Why is this so hard for people to understand.

  59. ich says:

    have you watch the game? The Spurs almost win with that deep-bench team. I´m not agree with the notion that the coach must put his stars to make the game more interesting. Withouth Spurs´ Big Three, the game went out by five. It was a great show of well-played basketball. But as there wasn´t great names in the Spurs, the show was probably awful for you. this shows that the the game does not need so many big stars to make interesting.

  60. Lynn says:

    This is no different than what teams do at the end of the year. Unless you have written an article complaining about every Coach and team that has sat down stars to “rest” them you need to SHUT UP!

  61. ERIC says:

    As a Heat fan, this game reminded me of the Jordan led Bulls toying w/ Vegas odds . Jordan used to do the same thing (toy with inferior teams) , & put on a show in the last dos minutos. It was obvious Wade & LeBron were waiting for the end , maybe to keep the crowd or (TV viewers) engaged, or play with the odds makers?

  62. Greg Ozuna says:

    This article is re-dic-u-lous! Basketball is a team sport, the level of play in the NBA has suffered with the rise of the “franchise player”. The Spurs management should be praised for showing how team work and superior coaching can take a group of 2nd and 3rd string players and still be competitive against the elite teams in the league. Pop is a mastermind on the court, and he commands respect from his team and management, that’s why he is able to do things like this. If the Spurs owners didn’t make a sound when this decision was made, why does David Stern feel the need to get involved?
    The end result was proof that the Spurs are the real deal, and it goes to show that any group of guys with moderate talent, and a sound offensive/defensive strategy can be competitive on the court. I am a HUGE spurs fan and I have to admit, when I heard 4 of our best players were sitting out I was upset. I really wanted to see this game. But in retrospect, I fully support the decision Pop made.
    Pop has molded this team into a benchmark for all professional sports, let alone the NBA. Stern’s involvement in how a team is coached is over the line. Stern needs to back off and let the man, and yes Pop is the man, do his business as only he can!

  63. `RocketsRed9495 says:

    It’s obvious that what Pop did was wrong. What’s not so obvious is what to do about it.

    How does the NBA handle such incidents, and even more important, how can the league discern when a player is actually injured? There are a lot of players who play hurt but should be on IR. Some players sit out games when they could play. By itself, that isn’t a bad thing — players know their bodies and know when a tweak could turn into something season/career threatening.

    That takes us back to the original problem — sitting out healthy players is wrong, but what to do about it?

    This practice cheats the fans, without whom there would ne no NBA.

    The NBA must address this before enough of its fan base becomes jaded & finds other forms of entertainment.

  64. Carlos says:

    So What?
    Popovich took the right path, he’s a very well reputed coach and he has been done that in the past and no one complained before.
    Stern concerned about the fans??? Pleaaaaaaaaaseee come on now…Stern is only concerned about revenues and TV deals, the fans didn’t complain about Popovich decision.
    In the past NBA season was worth to watch it, games were more meaningful and the season was shorter and less tiring for everybody (that includes fans).
    I think the actions of Stern as well as the NBA in the past are gearing towards to make money and taking away the purity of the game.
    I believe that people are missing the principal point which is the PURITY of the game, the rest is getting wicked and twisted to follow the money path.

  65. Adam says:

    Why is the only pro-sanction article on NBA.com?

  66. Bill Pettingill says:

    It was a FIVE-point game. The Spurs bench put on an exciting show and almost beat the World Champs. And if Stern had been watching basketball over the past few weeks, he would have seen several games where the Spurs bench arguably gave the team a lead and the starters blew it. Will Stern determine how big of a sanction by the point differential? What if the Spurs had won as they almost did? What’s next, will Stern determine that star players were not played for enough minutes in his mind? What will be the minimum time required? And the argument that there might have been some fan in Miami who really wanted to see Tony, Mano or Teemmie (as Tony says it) play, players sit out games all the time and it is a risk a ticket buyer takes. For all the conspiracy theorist/nuts who think the NBA wants certain teams to win, as supposedly evidenced by non-calls like those not made against the Heat in the waning minutes of the Heat-Spurs game, this move by Stern will only add fuel to their fire. If the Spurs HAD won, and that was a real threat, Stern would have looked completely ridiculous having said early in the game he was going to sanction them. Dodged that bullet, by a mere five points.

  67. Sterrn says:

    I apologize to all NBA fans. This was unacceptable that Rose, Rubio, Nash, Nowitzki etc are not playing. Injury is part of the game and not an excuse. Substantial sanctions will be forthcoming for teams who don’t play their injured star players. 😀

  68. Labuse says:

    The main problem is still the same : THE NBA SCHEDULE. That said Popovich is right to rest his guys. As a european viewer, De Colo is a very good player and he choosed to sign for Spurs for less money than going to Real Madrid or FC Barcelona. Gary Neal, Diaw, Splitter…some NBA teams would like to have this team as their starting five ! And i watched an excellent game yesteraday with some fresh players.

  69. And another thing: this isn’t a coach yanking his stars to move up in the draft lottery! It’s just smart coaching.

  70. minouye says:

    People are hippocras, they don’t care about Spurs when they are even in the play-off. I always hear Spurs are boring kind smack.
    I been big Spurs fan since Duncan was drafted, and I live in LA and travel to San Antonio to watch them play. I planned my trip in advance that I sometime couldn’t see Duncan play due to the injury for few seasons. Should I upset? No, I was disappointed, but thing happens.
    People in Miami says upset, but they only say that because of Media talks about it. Miami almost lost by Spurs bench, they saved their face on National TV.

  71. spurs fan 101 says:

    i personally believe pops did the right thing, i mean when does he ever do the wrong thing, their out there to win games and resting the big 3 for an even more important game on saturday was a good idea, they aren’t out there to please heat fans and it got the bench and reserves, like joseph and de colo to showcase what they can really do and giving them key minutes against a championship caliber team. smart move, and i am a huge spurs fan and tp fan, but still found this game one of the best so far.

  72. Steven says:

    I bet most Heat fans were extremely happy that those guys didn’t play. They clearly didn’t stand a chance otherwise.

  73. sourmouth says:

    If you’re not a spurs fan, you would never understand. Go Spurs Go! WTF 105-100 with just the bench.

  74. Dougie says:

    What if Hamed Haddadi is some kid in Memphis’ hero? Does that mean that the Grizzlies should be forced to play him in every single game just so that this one kid might see him? The league office posing an opposition to this move by the Spurs not only infringes on the coach’s right to play who he wants in a given game but also opens a huge can of worms for them if a rule is to be made about sitting star players.

  75. Hayo says:

    @Charlie, it wasn’t the superbowl here, not the finals. Think about the team and basketball not of your money

  76. Hayo says:

    We should remind that NBA is a BASKETBALL league. People who buy places are supposed to be basketball fans, and so able to understand Popovich’s decision ! And the poor young kids will learn that money doesn’t make everything happen ! This article only speaks of money. Ridiculous. The aim is the championship, and I think Popovich is one of the most able to give a team a title. And Spurs almost win… Very clever decision i think !

  77. Rob says:

    That was one, if not the most, entertaining games I have watched this year. It was refreshing to see some unselfish play by some hungry bench players. They played out of their minds, but it was awesome to watch. I would have loved to see them win. They ran their plays crisply and looked like a TEAM, something long forgotten in the NBA I’m afraid. It seems that personal stats outweigh the team’s performance anymore. These guys looked like they were freed from their cages on the bench and they were letting it all out. Interesting and exciting. I think there is a lot of unseen talent sitting on NBA benches night in and night out. I know that if this happened more, it would turn sour and boring–we call that basketball summer league. However, it was really fresh and fun to see the Heat scratching their heads as they were getting outplayed–not by talent, but by shear hunger. I loved it. Do not punish Pop.

  78. Dave says:

    Main thing, spurs only lost by 5 points without the big three!

  79. JenJen says:

    Everyone talks about how great Pop is, and strictly as a coach maybe he is. But he’s always doing things that aren’t in the best spirit of the game. During the Playoffs last year, playing the hack-a-whoever game. He cares about himself and his record. That’s it. Don’t get it twisted. He doesn’t care about the fans. He doesn’t even pretend to.

  80. Nikki says:

    I thought the fans thought the spurs were boring….. Now all of a sudden they wanna see them? Coach pop has a right to coach his team how he wants and if he feels his players need rest then he has that right! Don’t the heat fans get enough watching lebron, Wade , bosh, and Allen ? I mean it’s ridiculous! They have a ridiculous team! Their team is full of stars!! NBA is just getting spoiled! And may I add… It was a damn good game

  81. SoTexNBAfan says:

    If it isn’t against the rules, you can’t punish/sanction for it. Shame on the commish for even suggesting this. This was common all last year for the Spurs and there was no punishment, no off season rules changes, so you have no right to do anything about it now. How bad do the heat have to feel right now. The Spurs were without 2 injured players, they sat 4 others including their big 3 and the Heat barely won at home.

  82. Mandingo says:

    It was a good decision for Pop but not for the league in terms of the fans. We’re the ones that pay their salaries. So in that respect, I think the Big 3 should have played limited minutes at the least.

  83. Andro says:

    Mr. Blinebury,
    Pop is the best coach in the league, you should learn from him and admire him.
    He knows much more about basketball than you, especially when it comes to the Spurs basketball.
    Write a meaningful article, for instance one where you apologize to him, Spurs bench and all the fans that enjoyed the game. I hope that NBA, your employer, now sees that fans are more disappointed in them, than the Spurs.

    Longtime NBA fan from Croatia

  84. Johnny K. says:

    Pop didn’t do anything that isn’t allowed.
    It’s completely his call. The only thing worth debating is how trivial it is to make a discussion of it and how overbearing Stern is being in something he has no stake in.

  85. Jadaï says:

    It’s interesting to see how you can criticize a man who makes human decisions over mediatic ones… If the schedule was humane (hence lighter) and not financial, much less kids would have had to suffer the disappointment of missing out on their heroes (either because they’re resting or because their bodies are injured from playing 3 games a week all across the country !)…

  86. nbafan says:

    the spurs almost beat the heat…..lol I can’t believe how down hill the heat have went since last year. They really are not that good at all. They are very fortunate they got ray allen cuz wade is fat and out of shape, and can barely get off the ground. He can’t shoot, or post up, and he has been in the league how long? must be another hollywood flop

  87. Dennis - Bulls Fan says:

    Personally I respect the decision cause the coach.. is the coach!

    But tbh, I am currently planning to buy some tickets for a about 3 games, and having to fly from Australia I am spending around $5000 all up just for plane, accommodation only. Then each game is very expensive. I checked online and for regular seats in the middle of the stadium its anything from $!80-$500!! And I mean AVG seats.

    If you’re near the front.. man you are talking $800/$900++++ thats big money to be told you are going to be watching Bonner play.

    Dont get me wrong, a red rocket is good for everyone, but when you want to see Michael Jackson, Paris Hilton wont do it for you at those prices.. and in my case and Im sure others, if you have laid out big cash for a game.. it is almost refund worthy.

  88. Darin says:

    Wether I’m going to the game or watching it on TV, I’m paying big money to see the stars play. I’m hugely disappointed when any team “rests” it’s players at anytime.

  89. Who cares says:

    The spurs are a team that are guaranteed to make the playoffs and there sights are set on that not winning one single game against the Heat this early in the season. Why not rest up your 3 star players so they have more left in them when it comes time for playoffs. On top of that the spurs only lost by 5 so what does that say about Miami that their first unit only beat the Spurs second unit by 5 points and take it right down to the wire. GREAT move by Pop.

  90. Marvin M says:

    This should be interesting to see what kind of sanctions Stern issues and whether he gives coaches any guidelines for resting players. If Stern is going to fine the Spurs, why not fine the Wizards for putting an uncompetitive team on the floor every night?

  91. D says:

    Pops the coach!!! Let it be David, you ruin everything! Just like the NBA lottery. RIGGED!!!!!

  92. Quit your whining. Spurs back-ups all but beat the full-strength Heat. Nation-wide fans got the show of their life, and the reigning champs got shown up. What could be better than deflating the egos of Stern, Lebron, and TNT talking heads.

  93. Charlie says:

    What will happened if you payed ahead of time to go see a superbowl of your favorite team and at the last minute the headcoach decided to bench the starting qback, just because he was tired? Or you made bets or travel a long trip to see your favorite team and no starters? Pop you get fired, he is tired…………….

  94. David-in-SA says:

    I must say I am disappointed that I didn’t see the full match-up that we were all expecting to see. HOWEVER, if the league wants to put so much emphasis on marquee games, then I think that the schedule should reflect their emphasis on the importance of having a marquee contest! The second day of a back-to-back, the 4th game in 5 nites, the last game of a 6 game road trip vs a Heat team that hadn’t played since Saturday!! This is not how ANY team wants to go in to a “big” game. WHY would the league set it up this way? Maybe they should have set the Heat game before the Orlando game? Maybe they wanted the Heat to play a tired road worn SPURS? Point is, if the league doesn’t take more care in their scheduling and a team does something like this to protect their players, then the league should accept it and learn from it. We are all disappointed! League, do a better job!

  95. chuck says:

    fran, did you have the beer and soda on ice? The sandwiches made? The pizza ordered? Your favorite chair smack in front of the big screen TV?

    i didn’t think so. so quite acting like this is the super bowl. it’s a regular season game, 1 of 82. i quite reading after that introduction. it was obvious you’re a blowhard, which is probably why you’re writing on this site instead of something more prominent.

  96. Daniel says:

    Popovich’s job is to win the NBA Championships. Doing what’s best for the team regarding the whole season as opposed to one game is responsible. Did he break any rules? This column and Stern’s stance is a joke. How many championship have you won, Fran? How about you Stern? Zero. Well then let a coach that has won championships coach his team the way he feels is appropriate.

  97. renegade01 says:

    Remember that scene in Space Jam where the owner of the Mon-stars wanted to make Michael Jordan his slave so that everyone could come and see him and pay him lots of money while Jordan played basketball for the rest of eternity as his side show? Why is it that this entire situation reminds me of that lol

  98. Hussain says:

    I fans are upset that they didnt see the real Spurs and that they had bought the tickets for months. So what! Spurs aim is to win the championship not the regular season. #RESPECT POP

  99. John says:

    “Strategic resting of particular players on particular nights is within the discretion of the teams.” -Adam Silver, 2012

    It’ll be interesting to see Stern try and get around that statement; how was this OK for the last 4 years when the Spurs did it, and now it’s suddenly not? Honestly, Pop’s job and the Spurs’ job is primarily to Spurs’ fans, and they only care about championships. If you watched the game they still gave us a damn good game–maybe more interesting than another random Thursday night game in November would have been without the controversy.

  100. ajet10 says:

    Yea like y’all know what’s best for the Spurs. Did you realize that was game 4 in 5 nights? And Memphis on Saturday? We just about won against labron with our Bs and Cs. Pop can do what he wants with his team despite what all you jabronis say.

  101. Sternhastoleave says:

    Dumb title! Tell Sterny not to set up Miami for the end of a 4 games in 6 days road trip!
    Also, you can ask the Bulls fans what they think about it… Season ticket to see… Derrick Rose wearing a suit!
    Time to retire Mr Stern!! It’s time!

  102. cdubbb24 says:

    really, whats the big deal ??

    it’s one thing if u did that for a HOME game.

    a TRUE fan, one who has waited or dreamed about going to see a certain player or team, would travel to see them at their HOME court.

    In MARCH, I will fly from VA to LA, ACROSS THE COUNTRY, to see KOBE & the LAKE SHOW play the bulls at the STAPLES CENTER. going to see him play at the bobcats or wizards arena just ain’t gonna cut it.

    stern once again butting in on stuff that he shouldn’t *cough chrispaul cough*

  103. Steve says:

    Pop and the Spurs have been doing this for years and David Stern and the League have let them and now they want to punish him? The Spurs tanked games to get Daivid Robinson and then they tanked games to get Sean Elliott. A two-some that would bring them their first title. Then when Robinson got hurt, they tanked a season (since they knew they couldn’t win a title” to get in the Tim Duncan lottery and they won that. So no fine, slap on the wrist or scolding is going to change the way the team thinks – tanking games has brought them four NBA Title, why would they change now?

  104. Elderlady says:

    I know that the author of this article will be glad to quote to all of us, in full..(Q)… What NBA rule did Pop break???
    (A) None.

    He’s got all the “wiggle” room in the world on this one.

    What Popovich did IS NOT questionable. What the league did in….. the way they scheduled the Spurs prior to this game……… may be another story.

    Coach can make out his lineup card any way he wants.

  105. MD H says:

    The person you should be talking about is David ‘I am the Leader of the Free World’ Stern. Every coach and owner in the league has the right to make the decisions they want to make in the best interest of their team. Pop has done this many times prior to this and there hasn’t been any ‘serious sanctions’ mentioned by Julius Caesar Stern then, why now? What’s next? Julius determining how many minutes each player should play per game? Only allowing players that sell over 5 million jerseys, shoot 50% of the shots for their team? Demanding every player wear Nike’s because they gave the NBA the most advertising dollars…?
    Cramming so many games into an NBA season is nothing more than the engine to the NBA’s money making machine. 4 games in 5 nights is absolutely ridiculous, last season it was understandable but in a full season, incomprehensible. There have been many other teams this season and previous seasons that have done the same thing but Stern chose this instance over the Heat sitting D-Wade, LeBron, or Bosch, the Lakers allowing Kobe to rest his knees, it even goes as far back as the Rockets resting ‘The Dream’ to prolong his career. The keys to winning an NBA championship include many things like, luck, consistency, teamwork, dedication, etc. etc., but ultimately for any team to have a chance at the Larry O’Brien trophy in June, it comes down to the players health.
    The teams with full rosters of healthy players are the ones that win championships. Choosing health over pleasing David Stern’s desire to put more money in the pockets of the NBA machine is a ‘no brainer’. I think the best thing for the league is to ask David ‘ Julius’ Stern to step down and get someone, anyone, else to take over….How about a new Commissioner Stern, Howard perhaps? That would save the NBA some cash for not having to pay for new name plates or business cards….

  106. mikvim says:

    If the NBA had decided that this was a “marquee” game, then you don’t pit one team who has played four games in five days on the road against another team who hasn’t played a game in five days. The schedule makers only have themselves to blame.

  107. Carlin says:

    So, what’s the problem?
    Aren’t those “BENCH WARMERS” pro players?
    So what’s the big deal?
    NBA is a sport, you might pay a lot of money on your tickets, but you have to respect that, it’s a sport, not just entertainment. If you just want to watch Duncan playing, please watch the highlights, don’t go to the stadium.

  108. W/E says:

    Pop owns, he did the right thing,best coach in the league by far dont ever question his decisions he always knows what hes doing.

  109. renz_garnett says:

    maybe because he knows that eventhough he let his big3 play.. they will still lost.. hahaha.. just kidding spurs fan..


    Hey Franny, who are you fooling? You work for Stern, This article is ridiculous. Stern is wrong about butting in to this one. Where was Stern when he the biggest sports betting scandal in history was going on right under his nose? Where is he when teams are losing games on purpose all season to get the #1 pick or most ping pong balls?

    Maybe Ted Turner called up Stern and bitched him out so Stern complained about being slapped in his face. Maybe Stern should just set every teams starting lineup from now on. Is that what you want little Franny? You’re a joke, Stern is a joke, the NBA is a joke!

    Duncan hasn’t played a full season since 01-02
    Parker hasn’t played a full season since 02-03
    Ginobili has never played a full season
    Green never played a full season

    So knowing that Franny, where has Stern been all of those years? How about you write an unbiased article stating facts?

    • Stephen says:

      There’s a huge difference between intentionally resting ALL your stars on a national televised game, than missing a few games due to injury or right before the playoffs. There would be similar outrage if James, Wade, Bosh and Allen all sat out on the Christmas Day match against OKC. Fans pay good money to see a good competitive match of basketball with the best talent on both sides, and for the integrity of the game, that’s what should be given to them.

  111. Faltinsen says:

    Well, at least it is still a good game. That’s what matters. Its not like the Heat wins by 30 40 points.

  112. pff says:

    I think it was a change that was needed, so no reason to judge coach if he’s doing it in his teams interests, bad topic

  113. Adrian says:

    I don’t think you guys get the big picture. The NBA is a corporation in partnership with other giant corporations. The fans and broadcasting contracts are based upon popularity and customer satisfaction, ratings generate revenue that pays NBA salaries. So to say forget the business and just play the game is upsurb. What do you think that the nba lockout was about? Please don’t say just playing basketball.

    • Posyomismo says:

      But that’s the point I was talking about. The league has headed to this: see stars playing instead of seeing basketball games. That’s the mistake in my opinion. Of course we all know that the NBA is a business, and David Stern is trying to proctect it and keep it profitable, and that implies to make the fans happy, in order to keep buying tickets, games on TV and all the stuff. But it seems that basketball itself doesn’t matter. What I’m saying is that “the product on sale” should be good basketball, not good single plays from a dozen of players.

  114. Thomas says:

    The author of this article is an idiot! The coach of a team is the sole person responsible for the health and safety of his team members. If, in his judgment, the schedule placed upon his team requires rest to avoid injuries to key players, it is his decision to make. Sorry if Stern is not happy with the decision, but it is his league that put Popovich in this position.

  115. cobby64 says:

    The game was nothing short of entertaining and I’m sure the fans enjoyed it. Why is SA be sanctioned because they decided to rest 4 of their starters or because they were sent home? Would Stern still have sanctioned if they were present in their suits and on the bench? Hm..

  116. david joshua says:

    oh well i quess its a good decision to the TEAM but a bad effect to the FANS that didnt understand the true meaning of NBA,

  117. smart guy says:

    It ended up being a one possession game. Bad Coaching ? they could have won the game. Pop did nothing illegal. He suited enough NBA PLAYERS and almost won. I dont see the issue here, If he had sent home Spliter, Bonner and Boris Dias, would we be talking about this here ?

    • Third says:

      If Pop did this against Orlando the previous game or the Wizards 2 games ago, we wouldn’t be talking about it here as well. It’s because it was a nationally televised game against the Heat that is why Stern and his tv network executives are fuming.

  118. tristan says:

    who cares…yall (the media) are always saying how the spurs dont get good ratings on tv anyways,,,people still got to see a good game on tv…the spurs bench got good minutes to work together and get better…duncan parker ginobili got rest…not a big deal…its just funny how the media always talks about how boring the spurs are and talking about there low tv ratings..then bring up watching them on tv when this happens lol…anyways go spurs!!

  119. Langdon Alger says:

    Coach Pop has done this many times over the years. Where was the outrage then? I can understand why Turner takes issue with it tonight, from a ratings perspective, and I can therefore understand why this article was slapped together, but Pop doesn’t work for Turner. He doesn’t work for the league office and, as hard as this may be to accept, he doesn’t work for the fans, either. He works for the San Antonio Spurs and it’s his job to see the big picture and do what’s best for his organization. And though King David seems to think he rules by fiat, Pop’s done nothing to violate existing league policy.

    If you must cast blame, blame the 82 game regular season. When you play four games in five nights and the league puts you up against the thoroughly rested defending champs, that’s considered a “scheduled loss.” Even if you have a fifty percent chance to win that game, why take that gamble when it involves the CERTAINTY of overworking your starters in advance of a much more meaningful game against the Memphis Grizzlies? Winning that regular season series has value to the Spurs organization. Winning a regular season game against the Miami Heat does not. This isn’t the NFL where pulling the starters in week four would be career suicide. Pop’s move was tactically sound – and that’s probably what scares the league office so much.

    Coaches are judged on postseason success. While Turner has a financial stake in all of this, the Spurs don’t get a bonus check for beating Miami, let alone for producing good ratings. They have absolutely no incentive to risk injury to their stars or lessen their chances against a conference rival in their upcoming meeting. This game only had meaning to the fans and to Turner Sports, not to the San Antonio Spurs. Last I checked, that’s who pays Gregg Popovich’s salary.

    Until the networks own the league, it’s each coach’s job to put his team first.

  120. maybe says:

    I think Pop knows how important is the bench when it comes to the playoffs. He knows Heat are going to be in the finals and he thinks Spurs are there too in 2013. He wanted to see advantages and disadvantages on his bench.

    Spurs did not win the Champ in the past few years mainly cos of injuries.

    You learn the most when you play against the best – Spurs bench learned a lot from last game.

  121. Tobias Groß says:

    Why argue about that? Spurs did well w/o their stars, so what? It has been a tight game and SAS was quite near to win it. Coach Popp was able to win (GOOD MOVE!) with his bench., the stars got rest (good move!), so why argue?! People pay tickets, for sure, but the saw a nailbiting game at the end of NBA Players. If people are pissed of because they saw the bench play, they don’t pay respect to the whole team! Bench made good plays and effort… If the bench keeps contributing like that, every Spurs fan should be thankful. I am a Celtics fan and i would be glad if Doc might give some rest to the old starters, and the bench would aclimate to the system… Green would get more minutes and hopefully get more comfortable, sullinger, lee and wilcox need to step up to!

  122. CR says:

    POP – a basketball genius at strategy. His team takes it down to the wire against the defending champs without his perceived best players. Who else but Pop will pull a stunt like that. For the past decade plus the man has been able to put one of the most consistent teams on the floor. Pop knows what he’s doing! Look out rest of the league. David Stern, basketball is not just about who the fans want to see, it’s also a chess game. Yeah Miami won, but can they feel as if they have a psychological edge almost losing to the Spurs bench? Three cheers for Pop!

  123. folgas2 says:

    So, you think that it’s better for the show and for the people who watches the NBA that all the star players play every game in the regular season, so they can get injured like Derrick Rose, Rocky Rubio or many others last season?
    Personally, I prefer that Popovich sits their stars at this game and see them play against Miami in the NBA finals rather than losing them for the entire season.

  124. Chris says:

    I fully understand Pop’s point. But I don’t feel the author’s point “Did you have the beer and soda on ice? The sandwiches made? The pizza ordered? Your favorite chair smack in front of the big screen TV?” – Yeah maybe then I could sit here and say it wasn’t cool but aaaight. But if I buy tickets for hundreds of dollars to see some guys play and the the three best players don’t show up because of team policy….I’ll be really pissed. So I understand why the NBA doesn’t like to see stuff like that. And I’m talking for folks that can’t afford season tickets in the front row.

  125. Marcel says:

    jajaja OMG all this people talking nonsense. Why did Pop win coach of the year? Well…the second unit almost beat the champs so where is the criticism now? Spurs is a great team and like Kenny said its the coaches decision. Anywyas almost everyone hates on the Spurs and say they are boring. I got nothing else to say. Readin the comment before and after says it ALL.

  126. Posyomismo says:

    Well, SA didn’t win, that is true, but no one can complain about the game the team played, obviously I’m talking about SA.
    Look, I’m from Spain and I’m seeing a lot of people complaining for not seeing certain players play and saying that Pop is disrespectful with fans, rivals, the league… And what I’m thinking right now is “Why are you so upset about watch a good game?” That is, in my opinion, one of the aspects NBA basketball has lost over the years: People don’t care about basketball, people care about stars playing. Aren’t Splitter, Diaw…NBA players too? Are they on the team just to cheer the starters’ plays? Or when they’re on the floor, just to stay on one position to do ONE job?
    Yes, NBA, for sure, has the best of the best speaking about players individually, but I have really strong doubts about the sport. And those same doubts make me think about what would happen if in a span of…4-5 years, really good players don’t appear. Are people stop from seeing NBA because there’re no star players? Are people stop from seeing NBA because it would be only team play? I don’t know, I really think you should think deep and long about where this league is heading.
    If I bothered someone, I’m sorry, but that’s what I think.

    By the way, I clearly agree with the fact that Pop is the only who can decides what is best for his team, so if he thought giving rest to all those players was the best, that’s it!

  127. Dj AAsH Money says:

    Playing Chess… Nice move

  128. hako says:

    First of all, if you are real fan, u are there to watch San Antonio Spurs jerset, whoever in it. Bandwagoners can’t understandit and David Stern’s arse lickers like this blogger hate it. And there is no disrecpect to Miami, They win and that is what they care and if they think, they were humiliated, well, wait for May and win against Duncan/ginobii/Parker.

  129. Nacho says:

    What’s next? Stern dictating coaches how many minutes stars must play to entertain the nation? Is this sport or a circus? 6 games in 9 days! I would sit the entire 10 players and play with the Austin Toros. They even were about to get the victory, 105-100 with bench players. This looks like a dictatorship. LET COACHES COACH!

  130. Third says:

    You said:

    “But to simply blow off a game entirely is not acceptable. Not when fans have paid good money for tickets. Not when there might be one kid in Miami who is a Duncan or Ginobili or Parker fan and is hoping to see his hero for the first time. Not when the integrity of the game insists that you try to win.

    They didn’t blow off the game, they showed up and was ready to play. Another thing, the integrity of the game wasn’t jeopardized as the game is a team game. The team (even composed of bench guys) played together and almost won.

    You also said:
    “Tired is not an excuse. Not for every other team that has had to endure a grueling road trip or the vagaries of an often Byzantine NBA travel map. Not for the Spurs.”

    Using your logic, it means that if the other teams are doing it, then that should be fine. Also why would not that be an excuse for the Spurs? They had the most number of games in the opening month, on the tail-end of their 2nd long road trip and on the 2nd night of a back to back and with the core of the team being composed of 30+ year old guys who has a lot of NBA and international basketball mileage in them, i think fatigue is a pretty good excuse to rest these guys.

    It may be true that fans would like to have the opportunity to watch their heroes but we have to understand that we may lose more opportunities to see them play in much bigger games (say, playoffs or finals) if they go down with injuries aggraveted by fatigue and their age.

    However, knowing that i’m reading an article from NBA.com i should actually expect you to be toe-ing David Stern’s line.

  131. Jimmy Lai says:

    What’s the problem? They got very hard to win Spurs!!!!!!!!!The reserved team!! I really support the decision.Who will give credit if the team get more injury players?
    Diaw did very well in the defense of LBJ, and the Spurs did very well in the match.

  132. Dominic says:

    wheres my comment?

  133. kicka$$ says:

    funny how inspite lacking their 6 star players SA almost won the game and Miami had to ralley in the 4th to win! 😀

  134. Mack J says:


    How dare you consider yourself a sports writer. Pop’s decision is everything but unacceptable. There’s something called a big picture for every franchise. Pop’s decision was made keeping that big picture in mind, not to keep Fran Linbury’s “wasted” pizza and beer in his mind. Hell, that stuff you write is disrespecting to those players the Spurs had on the court tonight. Hell, those guys gave Miami a hard time. They had the lead with 30 secs on the clock.

    I really thought David Stern was the only one having no clue about the GAME of basketball. Apparently there is another one, you, Fran Linbury.


    Ex-Pro Baller

  135. karolisjachimavicius says:

    He didn’t cheat or break a rule. That’s up to him who to play. Too bad people like Stern are not focused on a bigger strategy. If people are about to watch only stars and not basketball, NBA can open a 24 hour live Shaq channel and follow him everywhere.

    Mr.Stern, what about fining Lebron or Durant or Kobe for a bad performance? Shooting below .400? Fan not happy. Lakers lose? Fans not happy. Brooks decides to sit Durant through 4th quarter? Fans not happy. Fine, fine, fine for not generating trends. Your darn strategies, no one cares about your darn strategies and jumpshots, make a dunk contest of every game, and make 5 Kobes start! There are no 5 Kobes? I don’t care, I fine you!

  136. Genoa says:

    If a team can rest their starters for the last 3 games of the season when their seed is secured; there’s no reason any team can’t rest any player on a given night for the interest of the team. Yeah you could say that they have a responsibility to uphold the integrity and competition of the game – BUT if you use that logic, then you have to come down on Pop’s for sitting just Duncan for being old as he has in recent years AND you have to come down on every team (like the heat the last 2 years) that rests starters for the final games of the regular season for the sake of being fresh for the play offs.

    A regular season game in November is worth the same amount as a regular season game in May, its 1 win or 1 loss you can’t nitpick at WHEN a team rests players if you allow them to rest players at all. Everyone here who seems to think Pop is wrong – I expect to see you again when Miami has a 4 game lead on the second seed and Lebron, Wade, and Bosh don’t play for the last 2 weeks of the regular season.

  137. Eaglos says:

    So what’s next?
    Getting fined for not using Duncan as long as we wanted?
    Maybe a 3 game ban for not telling Manu to shoot more 3-pointers?

    This is about freedom of choice and letting a coach…coach his team.

  138. CRYsis says:

    They lost by 5 point. Miami has complete star players there. Point is, Spurs bench are either monsters or Miami has a bad game day. That aside, risking players health is something to prevent. We don’t want injuries happening along the trip so I guess this is a good move for the Spurs. Its not like its the playoffs already, Pops just want his players 100% healthy and we all know the 3 he sent back home are somewhat old.

  139. Bigger Picture says:

    This was a Smart move by Pop, Sorry to all who wanted to watch the game, but the Spurs bench and younger guys didn’t really help them in last years playoffs, the best place to get them experience in Playoff hyped games is in games like this.

    Also, if Pop thinks this team has a chance to make a run, Miami have limited/no footage of them Vs to theSpurs starting 5 depending on what happens with the Spurs line up by the time the Heat are travelling to SA.

  140. Marco29 says:

    As a Spurs fan I was eager to see the result of the game when waking up in France this morning and hoped for a Spurs win against a top team in the league. I was disappointed to see they lost, even close but then I saw that none of the big 3 was playing neither was Green and then it made sense. I think all the fans are disappointed (Spurs fans, Heat fans, all NBA fans) but I am not woried that they will continue to rout for their teams and the league cause we are all addicts to the game: not even the lock-out had a negative impact.
    One can think what he wants of Pop’s decision but he definitely points out a sechedule issue: since Nov 19th he Spurs played 7 games 6 of which on the road while the Heat played only 3 all at home. That is unfair. Playing 82 games in 6 months is hard enough for all the teams, there cannot be such discrepancies in their schedules.
    I am afraid, other coaches and teams might follow Pop’s example in the future and this could have an impact on the interest of National TVs and the amount they are willing to pay to broadcast what is supposed to be a game between top teams and which is finally devaluated.
    Haveing a coherent schedule is the key.We have the example in France with rugby that has a crazy schedule with teams playing at the same time as the national team and other nations (imagine playing NBA games without members of team USA, Spain, Argentina, France like during the Olympics or World Championhsip) and therefore struggles to get a decent deal with national TVs to broadcast season games. I know the NBA doesn’t have this kind of issues yet but it is a dangerous road to follow. I guess Stern will punish the Spurs hard to send a message to all NBA teams and he will probably be right.

  141. Fu SOBAD says:

    What? This writer serious? Nobody knows the team better than Pop. He’s the decision maker and should be respected. It’s his tactic to rest the players for the best interest of future. For now, they might have lost a game and TV rating. BUT it will all come back when there are heavier things on the line. Look in the long term. This is for the best. And don’t be judgmental.

  142. Ace says:

    There are too many editorials on NBA.com, as proved by this dribble. What a nothing article about a nothing issue. Yawn, wake me when there is something worth reading on here.

  143. Sean says:

    Fran Blinebury is a fan of the NBA, not basketball. I think many of us forget that the NBA is not basketball, but a league. As a Spurs fan I was deeply disappointed that the Spurs didn’t play their big three, but as a fan of basketball and not the NBA, I didn’t have a problem with this and neither should the commissioner. This is getting to a point where the commissioner has too much say in how an owner, manager, or coach should run their team. The Spurs have always been a fine example of what people should want from their team, no distractions and just wins. They put basketball first, are one the winning teams in NBA history, introduced the euro style play into the NBA, and always have deep playoff runs. Pop has done this in the past, and not just for shortened seasons, so why now does it require sanctions. The Spurs bench almost won this game, 22 seconds away from winning a game against the reigning champions. If Allen hadn’t saved the day, the Spurs role players would’ve stolen this game away, and David Stern would have his foot in his mouth.

  144. Suriken says:

    A coach knows better than the NBA when to rest his players. The league does nothing to prevent its players from injuries except issuing schedules where a guest team has 4 games in 5 days and a home team has 4 full days of rest before the matchup. The Spurs r already without their small forwards so criticizing Pop’s decision because of unfinished pizza or spoiled beer taste in front of the big screen TV is so lame. Tango night session is not equal to basketball game in terms of energy consumption, though 4 consecutive 1-hour tango sessions could be helpful for office people in understanding the fatigue and writing issues. And by the way the marquee game wasn’t against Miami, it will be against Memphis and a real Duncan or Ginobili or Parker fan will always support any Pop’s decision concerning the Spurs franchise.
    SAS only SAS! With love from Ukraine!

  145. harshmetal says:

    Well. he’s a coach and he’s the only guy, who decides, who’s to play in match.

    I don’t like Spurs, but I admit Gregg and U can’t tell him what to do with his team.

    Screw you pizza, soda and other stuff. He’s facing much more important things to manage, then your entertainment.

    Buy the way, it’s regular season, not PO. One stupid coach already ripped his top star at first PO match and lost to sixers. Gregg is not that dumb.

  146. Pete says:

    Pop looks after his own, to hell with all the rest. Ending with the “Pop will say” at the end is real BS. Even without those players, the Heat got a game, didn’t they? Don’t give in to the higher-ups Pop, keep your mind on the team, and long-term, as you always do. Spurs fans will be satisfied in the long run, when they’re players are good to go in the playoffs. Peace

  147. pixelnate says:

    1) Pop can do what he wants, it’s his team. 2) The Miami fans need to quit their moaning and start praying. The Spurs were winning the game until the last minute while their 6 top scorers sat at home. In the Finals, the Miami whiners will get to see all the Duncan they can handle. 3) Stern needs to stay out of this.

  148. Ben Wilden says:

    Just a heads up, its spelt “cheques” not “checks”…

  149. Kithiero says:

    Pop is a coach that deserves accolades and not sanctions. I watched the game, as the San Antonio “bench” took Miami to the wire, and Pop coached the entire way. He got on DeColo’s case, after leaving Allen open for a late 3, exactly as he would have done for Duncan or any of his other stars. To argue that the absence of “Star” players cheapens the fan experience is utterly disrespectful to the other professionals that make up the Spurs or any other NBA team, for that matter. I understand the arguments about the ticket holders, the kids, the television but, without contractual stipulations mandating that a Coach play his “Star” player(s) on nationally televised games (which btw would need apply to pre-playoff games as well), Pop has nothing for which to answer. He sent a message tonight; the Spurs are still Dangerous.

  150. pixelnate says:

    This was a terrific game, regardless of the griping about the great coaching that Pop showed, both on and off, the court. The fans got what they paid for, great entertainment, and they got to see the future of the Spurs organization.

    Stern has always hated the Spurs, and I’m sure it just tickles him to levy your sanctions against the best organization in all of professional sports. Stuff it, Stern. Spurs fans are done with you, and we want you to go away. It is Pop’s business how he coaches his team.

  151. Clay says:

    Don’t question the man and his FOUR NBA titles. He only lost by 5 against the starters of the defending NBA champs with bench players. The Spurs are “old” and they do need to rest perhaps a bit more than other teams. Remember, he’s looking to win a title, not a single, November game. If Stern fines the Spurs he is overstepping his bounds here. Who owns the teams, again?

  152. NBA Schedule says:

    Maybe sanction the Bulls for not playing their star D. Rose too? Oh wait, he can’t play cause he is injured due to a pack schedule. Would you rather have those fans see these four in a regular season game or see them play throughout the playoffs? Why risk injury over one game.

  153. Absolom says:

    I’m not a fan of the Spurs or Popovich, but in this case I support them 100%. I don’t care what the reasons are for sending those guys home, but its teams decision. Can’t blame Pop for thinking longterm. I f he believes sitting 4 guys will benefint the team, he should sit those 4 guys, period. league or anybody else has no business telling teams who and how they should play their players and these upcoming fines are a joke. Integrity of the game has been compromise long.
    Apparently David Stern still is trying hard to turn NBA into circus.

  154. Phillip says:

    For me as a Miami Heat’s fan a win is a win. This was a gauge of what might be the Finals. I said whoever wins this will win the Championship. I picked these two teams to be there. Pop may then have no choice and may lose those four to injuries by then

  155. Paulo Mendes says:

    It’s Pop’s call and it makes a lot of sense. The bench is part of the team too and they do have a good bench. Why go full force in November? It’s a long season. These things are quite common in European soccer. In my view, the way he manages the team is his business and not the NBA’s or the fan’s… Of course as a fan I feel a little let down, but hey, it’s not the playoffs and I will probably still rewind the game tonight. What if the Spurs had won? It was pretty close wasn’t it?

  156. ceseno says:

    I am not in a bunker behind the Alamo. I am not a Spurs’ fan, but a Lakers’ one. But I agree with Popovich in this. He is the coach and he is the one to make the best decisions on his team. If Mr. Stern wants to make the decisions, like he did last year with his ‘basketball reasons’, I think he should be a owner, a manager or a coach in a franchise, otherwise he should limit to his work. On top of all this, the Spurs almost won the game, who can guarantee they would if their top players had played?

  157. jay says:

    so, we haven’t heard from Duncan, Parker, Green, or Ginobili in protest…..shouldn’t be a fuss till they voice against the decision….

  158. David says:

    Pop has every right to give his players a night off. All the rules require is that he dress a certain number of players. If you don’t like that, then be upset with the commissioner or whoever sets the rules. Fans get to choose the All-Stars not who plays on any given night. And since when are the feelings of fans more important than the livelihood of a veteran team? Since when is a coach not allowed to make what he believes is the best decision for his team? It shouldn’t matter if it’s for disciplinary reasons or for rest, or for wanting to see his younger bench players start for 1 game. He’s the coach, coaches decide who plays. Sorry, it’s not up to popular vote. Besides, isn’t it enough that Heat fans get to watch both L. James and D. Wade? You make it sound like Pop and the Spurs tarnish their image by rest a few guys. That is way overblown. The Spurs get largely ignored regardless of how well they play in the regular season. Media writers have been accustomed to that for years. One win or loss at Miami isn’t going to suddenly change anything. Writing a lousy article because your television plans were ruined for the evening is not the professional thing to do. Respect the greatest active coach’s decision, and move on. Plain and simple.

  159. Erik Sam says:

    Pop didnt violate any rules. He isn’t hired to entertain the fans. He is hired to coach the team to the championship. He has the pedigree to justify this move. Resting players is a part of the game, and as the term “DNP-CD” clearly implies, a players use on any given night is the decision of the coach. This was not a blow out game either, it was a contest from start to finish, and the fans were on their feet near the end. So if coaches have always been allowed to sit players for their own reasons, the game was still competitive and highly entertaining for the fans, and the tickets you buy tell you that you arent guaranteed to see all the players play, how can you punish the spurs. You cant punish a team for going by the book, especially if it is a common practice for the spurs and hasnt been addressed until now. There is no logic to that. If anything, change the nba rules to require doctor’s notes in order to sit players. Good luck. Good riddance stern.

  160. Bart says:

    I don’t understand all this frustration, apologies and future sanctions on Spurs headcoach/ Spurs organization.
    It is Pop deciding whether he needs all the squad or not. It is his decision to send some players home or not. Do NBA authorities want to make this situation into a theatre as it once was in the past with injury list? Next time coach will have to pretend or even worse – show the fake medicine explanation or something to all contesters that his players should be sent home?
    He – Pop – takes responsibility of his team and he has good will with doing so. All that matters is Spurs and their faith and as long it is in the hands of Popovich we all can be certain it will be all good. Watching them in Conference or even League Finals etc.
    As for the NBA fans – I believe we all have plenty of interesting matches worth watching this or following nights. So why watch these old, poorly athletic and always the same Spurs? 😉
    /Greetings from Poland.

    • Jerry says:

      Are you kidding? It is suppose to be a theatre, it’s just a game for goodness sakes. These aren’t real life and death battles going on. It’s just entertainment for the FANS!

  161. dnastyoneyo says:

    Why would there be any sanctions this is what the nba has evolved to extending the life health and career of these men cause they are winners. This is another example of stern using his position to turn a game into politics.

  162. dattebayo says:

    The Heat make me so mad with their style of play. They didn’t run any plays in the first quarter and with a lackadaisical attitude only took midrange and longrange jumpshots. Cole and Allen were the only guys to get to the rim until a few minutes in the 2nd quarter. And the most disturbing thing is their defense, e.g. the way they gave the Spurs open corner threes. That is the shot the Spurs practice every day, a shot that every player (except for the bigs) makes consistently. The Heat at times play so soft and with no purpose on offense and their record really does not reflect how they have played so far in this season. If LeBron wasn’t as good as he is or if Allen just doesn’t make these crucial threes, the Heat would have lost to the Bucks, Houston, twice to Denver and today. I enjoyed watching the Heat last year and I thought that their offense would improve but so far it has actually gotten worse. At least Charles was entertaining, he really should do more games with Kevin and Reggie.

    • Zak says:

      Well said man. their style of play is irritating the hell out of me along with their lack of defense. Put UD back in the starting five!

  163. Mike V says:

    The Spurs had 6 game road trip with 4 games in 5 days against Toronto, Washington, Rest, Orlando and Miami. 3 of those 4 are about as close to guaranteed wins as it comes for SA every season. A game against Miami is always a battle but coming off that stretch of games against a Miami team that got a 5 day rest is beyond unfair. Knowing that they’re going to have to play an even more physical game against division rivals Memphis means Manu, Parker, and Timmy are going to need all the rest they can get. This gives the Spurs the best chance to win a game of higher importance.

  164. Fan says:

    So the Spurs are pretty much neck and neck with the Heat. Pop knows what he’s doing. He gets the best out of every player on the bench. And what’s up with Stern saying he’s going to take action against this? He isn’t the coach, manager or owner of the Spurs.

  165. strawberry says:

    If the championship is all that matters, then I see nothing wrong with this move. Stop complaining…. If you don’t want to watch, THEN DON’T.

  166. Claudia says:

    that he is responsible for the well being of the team but if TD, Manu and Parker are too tired to play then maybe they should hang it up. As a good coach Pop should be able to manage his players’ minutes, and not just decide to blow off an entire game, nationally televised mind you, because his star players are tired. I watched Kobe, all sick and what not, go for 40 (or so) the other night. We’re barely in November! Wonder what he has up his sleeve come April/May.

    • sipdesip says:

      Claudia, if Kobe is sick and busted up like you say…and his coach lets him trot out there for 40 minutes of heck? That’s on the coach and the player. If Kobe is out come playoff time because the wear and tear of 40+ minutes per game has gotten him too banged up to contribute…or worse yet, not banged up enough to be OUT, but too banged up to be EFFECTIVE!? The Spurs saw that firsthand two years ago…Manu wanted to play the last game against the Suns (before the playoffs), fractures his elbow on a freak play…and lose in 6 to the Grizzlies after he has to sit the first two games completely, and wear a huge brace on his arm for the next 4.

      Based on that? I say SKREW anyone who thinks otherwise…as a Laker fan, I’d want Kobe and Nash and Howard fresh and ready for the PLAYOFFS, not for some December game against the Bucks or something. I know my guys are warriors already…nothing needs to be proven. Sit ’em when they need it, even if they don’t want it…THAT is what a good COACH does.

  167. kyle1020 says:

    f the Spurs win this game, should fans really be upset? As a fan, you follow your team, and you hope they will win games or at least perform well in their losses. It seems ungrateful to me that fans might be unhappy because a win might not be how they envisioned it. Just becuase you pay to see the team play, does not mean you have the right to demand anything about how the team is run. That is the job of the owner, GM, and coach. The Spurs are a TEAM. Their identity transcends their star players. When you watch the bench play, you are still watching the San Antonio Spurs play because every single player on the team is committed to the TEAM. If fans cannot accept that, then they are being ungrateful for the success they have enjoyed. And if the Spurs opponents cannot recognize the team aspect of the Spurs, that speaks volumes about the differences between the organizations.

  168. jerikobe says:

    wow pop you’re one of a kind coach… trusting the 2nd unit.. a real coach!!!

  169. jake says:

    this so unfair to the fans who paid hard earned money to buy those expensive tickets to see the game

  170. Patricio says:

    Oh man, I was eager to watch this game. So disappointed on what Pop did. Why not rest his key players yesterday against the Magic? Why now against one of the elite teams in the NBA? For sure a lot of NBA fans wants to see the two elite teams go at it.

    • Carl says:

      I can almost guarantee you David Stern wouldn’t have said ANYTHING because it’s against the Magic. He only did it because this one was nationally televised and it was his precious Miami Heat.

      • Jerry says:

        Damn right. Certain games are chosen to be on national television for a reason duh. Pop’s decision was a slap in the face to the TNT double header and thus NBA fans worldwide PERIOD. Obviously a good decision for his team but one must consider what really pays the bills. Couldn’t he have picked another game to rest them? It’s as if he deliberately wanted to mess with the league. Anyway I still love Pop. His “come on guys this is a big boy game” quote from last season when he was wired still cracks me up today.

  171. POPISTHEBOSS says:

    What a thoughtful move, those that annoys the league, with all the hype they put to this game. I’m so happy that he did this, it’s a game like any other, the Heats are the defending champions so what, SAS owes them nothing so don’t expect respect. If they want to do the same back in San Antonio, we’re welcome.

    • pixelnate says:

      ^^^ This! When the Heats come to town, Spoelstra should keep his 6 best players at home and see how well they do.

      • nonbiased fan says:

        hahaha. even just resting Lebron would make this team subpar. D. Wade is getting old. Bosh is inconsistent.

  172. googergieger says:

    To be fair most Miami games are rather pointless to watch. Refs are going to do damn near everything in their power to make the game easy for them. Popovich made it about as easy as possible tonight, and Miami is still going to be babied by the refs. As I’m typing right now, we just saw the first obvious uncalled Lebron travel of the game.

    Anyways why do we have coaches in the NBA? Let the man do his job. Really you all should complain more about these “super teams” and superstar/celebrity favoritism. Plenty of other things that damage the league than Popovich thinking long term.

  173. Chris says:

    *like this there would be…

  174. eddie57 says:

    Go Austin Toros! I mean San Antonio Spurs.

  175. Rene says:

    This is not about the Heat this is a big screw you to the NBA scheduling them for a 6 day and 10 day road trip in the same month. Two back to back games in what 5 days with the last of 4 games nationally televised??? Please Stern can shove it!!!

    • Greg says:

      Exactly right! Especially with the Heat on four days’ rest! That’s nothing if not a setup. Yet, Miami was behind with two minutes to go in the game against the Spurs bench. Props to SA.

    • Carl says:

      AGREED! This is just David Stern protecting Miami AGAIN. San Antonio played 4 games in 5 days, and Miami’s coming off of four days of rest. Not a fair fight. Who SCHEDULES these things?

    • sipdesip says:

      That’s the BIGGER deal…scheduling…and it has certainly not been great for the Spurs. But more importantly…a lot of big league sports are heading in this direction, and it’s not a good sign for players.

      NFL is the big case in point. Sunday night games are fine; same day and same time to rest. Monday night isn’t awesome, but at least it’s just one day. Now Thursday night games…six or seven days of rest is hard enough; four is INSANE. NBA with these 5 game in 6 nights-type scheduling is asking for trouble…what happens when Duncan or Kobe or LeBron or Durant goes down because of INJURY caused by the grueling schedule, instead of being out for a game because of rest? Think Stern would be unhappy THEN!?

      Don’t shoot Pop as the messenger…take a hard look at why a coach might do that in the first place. Pop is ornery…but Pop also has a great and valid POINT. Schedule 3 games in 6 days instead of 5 games in 6 days…and watch your stars play on the big stage. The only bad apple in this whole charade is STERN.

  176. eddie57 says:

    I am the biggest Spurs fan but for Coach Poppovich to send their top 4 players home is not fair to the to the fans that paid good money for tickets expecting to see the Spurs at full strenght and only seeing D-League players. Stern has already announced there will be consequences for these actions. I can understanding not starting Tim Duncan, but sending all those player home is crazy. Danny Green is 25 years of age so he shouldn’t be tired. Come on Pop.

  177. sanman53 says:

    Will we be talking about this game in April? No way. It’s November today and we will forget about this game in a few weeks. If the kid he is talking about here is a true Spurs fan, then the kid will understand the bigger picture (playing for real in June). This will be a good time for this kid to evaluate the bench and watch Splitter/Mills play together.

    • nonbiased fan says:

      totally agree. let the rings do the talking! how dare people insult pop’s love for his team! i’m not even a spurs fan and it’s shameful to see how the fans are reacting to this

  178. Manu says:

    Pop is doing the right thing for his team. I’m sure the last thing he cares about is what Mr. Blinebury thinks! And a further tip: Look up what ‘Byzantine’ means before using it in a sentence…

  179. dattebayo says:

    Boy, I was looking forward to this game. I knew Jackson and Leonard were out and I was hoping the Heat would start a little bigger since Battier sprained his knee in the last game. I hate that they play small even against bigger teams. Pop will get a lot of heat for this and I know he doesn’t care, but I for one am really disappointed. Was the Spurs schedule really that tough up to now? Charles Barkley is commenting this game, all we will hear all game long is how he flew to South Beach for nothing.

    • Ray G says:

      Up to last night, the Spurs have played 11 road games of their 17 total games and are 13-4. The Heat have only played 14 games, 7 of them on the road. The Spurs had their 6th road game in the last 9 days while the Heat had not played since last Saturday. It was the Spurs’ 4th game this week. The Heat had only 5 games in the last TWO weeks.

  180. Michael says:

    I am a die hard Spurs fan and I love that Pop manages miniutes and puts the team above the a single win. But I REALLY wanted to see this game! Ya, it would make it even better if the Spurs won anyway but in the words of Ditka; “Stop it!”

  181. Ben says:

    What? that is really sad. It’s only twice or 3 times this big East and big West team meet each other. It’s only make fan really feel disappointed for the whole situation.

  182. Sho24 says:

    Pop is an amazing coach but to send four starters back home just because they are tired is absolutely disrespectful to the Miami Heat and also the eager fans who have paid money to watch two of the best teams in the NBA go at it. I hope the Heat take this as personal and beat them by 100 points.

    • Arnaud says:

      Why disrespectful? SA almost won!!! What a shame for Miami if they had lost this game!!
      And question: Is it better for fans (and show) to see a “weaker” team in shape almost winning against champs or a very good but tired team loosing by 20 pts … ?

    • nonbiased fan says:

      spurs almost won it! hah! disrespectful to the Heat? nobody is really making a big deal out of this other than the business side of the NBA. pop is terrific at managing his personnel and if you can’t see the wisdom in this then i don’t know what to say

  183. KY says:

    Pop felt he had to rest our stars, the BOSS calls the shots and I think its a smart decision. Spurs don’t have Kawhi or Stack Jack so no really to guard LeBron. It definetly will be interesting to see how the Spurs’ bench do against the defending champs. Spurs have a solid bench, but back on subject….ya it was a smart move. Stars sitting out today+ Spurs winning over grizzlys next game. It’s not the playoffs so no reason to show off yet. #SpursNation

  184. TL says:

    now watch SA wins the game.. that would really funny!!

  185. jonathan cantres says:

    lmaoooo pop felt the heat that’s why he gave them a day off!!!!

    • pakyaw says:

      they’re SCARED! that’s what it is….how the f?ck that theyre tired? is not even 20 games of the season…POPS try to pull out some mind games in there..at least show respect to the CHAMPS…..remember they beat the team,that kick your butt in west finals(OKC)….

  186. phillip says:

    I hate to say it but that was a bad decision. At the end of the day, you can limit minutes, but to blow off a entire game ….against the champs (or any other team for that matter)..is whack.

    • pixelnate says:

      The Heats have half as many championships as the Spurs. Where is the respect for them?

      And in what way was it a “bad decision?” The reserves got some very valuable playing time against an above average team, Pop got to see how well they can play together and Splitter and Neal got to lead the team for the night. Not to mention the fact that the Heats lost an opportunity to find out how good SA really it.

      I see it as a brilliant decision and that it shows exactly the kind of mettle that this team is made of. They showed up with the B team and almost beat BronBron’s entourage.

      • GvtDred says:

        Gotta agree with Pixelnate on this one…as much as I understand how it would be dissapointing for the people who wanted to see Duncan,Parker and Ginobli, Pop is only lookin out for his team and their chances of winning a championship…not to mention they almost handed the Heat a loss in their own house with their bench players…POP is the man if you ask me!

      • markymark says:

        I think it may be time for you two to put your pants back on and get out of the Spurs locker room.

    • Mike says:

      It was totally a bad decision on the part of POP to rest his first three best players. Just limit their playing time would have been a better decision. Paying fans at Miami were short changed of what they paid (though Miami won). These NBA players are getting paid big bucks so they have to give in return to the paying fans.

    • nonbiased fan says:

      bad decision? who are you to say that? look, like D Wade said, it’s the NBA and it doesn’t matter who’s on uniform. they should have destroyed the spurs then if they felt so bad about it. they almost lost to freakin reserves and players i haven’t seen play this season yet! i know the league is trying to prevent things from escalating trying to follow pop’s management of his team. it’s bad for business but i know of only pop to have this kind of power to be a coach and choose to rest his stars. it’s as if this is their first time resting stars. last season the heat rested Lebron in preparation for the playoffs. what made that so different?

      • GvtDred says:

        EXAAAACTLY!!! Everybody is crying about how they didnt get to see a good game because the SPurs big 3 didnt play…but if any of you watched that game it was actually really good!! do you realize that Pop almost beat the champs with his bench and rookies?? thats friggin insane!!! to me that was actually more exciting then watching the big 3 go up against the heats starters…if it was supposed to be such a dissapointment then why did the Heat have such a hard time winning the game?

    • Rob says:

      You’re joking right? I’m talking anyone in this blog and the writer himself who thinks this was an unspeakable decision. Sure this makes sense if you watch the games just to see the stars and join in on the entertainment that the NBA is. But the fact is, basketball is a sport. If you aren’t playing to win the championship, you don’t deserve to be called a sports team. If the league fines or suspends anyone from the Spurs, they are moving the NBA from a sport specific league to an entertain league. Why dont you just say how many minutes each player can play, that should fix all this no problem ;). What’s even funnier is how no one cares about the end of the season when the playoff rankings are mostly determined and most teams are resting there stars and preventing injury so they come in dressed in street clothes or play zero minutes. Hows about Charlotte, Cleveland, Toronto, New Orleans… any team that blew off games to try and get a good spot in the next draft. You cant fine San Antonio, its a slap in the face to one of the best coaches the NBA has seen. That game last night was perfectly competitive and if you didn’t like that game (good defense, good transition play, good ending)..then you dont like basketball.

    • Mister 215 says:

      How do you blow off a game you almost won???? This post was made before the game, but look what happened in the game… Oh you probably didn’t what it because the big three didn’t play….. that’s why everybody that is mad is not a true fan of the NBA. I’ll watch any game until it gets boring. The game was real good. Back and forth until the end… And he did give them a limit for minutes for the game, their limit was no minutes…. They could have easily said that they feel good enough to play, but I’m sure they weren’t. People are so selfish, they are old let them rest it’s only one game. Pop is the reason that Tim still plays and that’s because he rest them when it is necessary. Grow up fans

    • Ginobili says:

      How was this a bad decision? And would it have been considered that if the Spurs won? Who is Stern to reprimand a coach for doing what he has to do to try and win in June? Would it have been better if Timmy, Manu, Tony, and Green made the trip just to play 3 or 4 minutes each? This is malarkey. Boohoo people didn’t get to see the Heat play tired Spurs starters. And it still turned out to be one of the most exciting games this season. I usually agree with Mr. Blinebury for the most part but he is dead wrong on this. Because if this is the case then I want every team that rests their starters for the playoffs fined and every team that tanks the season to get a good pick fined. If you start telling coaches what they can do and how much they should play their players then you start to turn into a league worried more about entertaining and becoming a league that cares less about the actual sport. This is what makes Pop so cool! He is the MAN. Shows just how important coaching is. Can you imagine the Heat coming to play in San Antonio and Spolestra decides to send James, Wade, and Bosh home. Even just LeBron. They would get destroyed. I give all respect to Popovich.

    • Girl Knowz BBall says:

      I can’t take Pop’s side on this one. People are being simple minded and looking at it only from a shallow perspective, claiming that it was a great team strategy, or even blaming the schedule for that matter, but these guys get paid way to much money to play basketball. These players make millions of dollars to be out there on the court. I can’t count how many times I worked jobs where I had to stand on my feet all day and my back and feet were aching. I wish I didn’t have to do my job and still get paid for resting. Other than injuries, illness, or personal problems a player should always suit up and play. Pop could have limited their minutes or only played them the first half of the game. It’s never cool to throw a game and take your guys out of their jobs when at the end of the day this is what they get paid millions to do. The NBA is a business, and the players are the commodity. It’s one thing for pop to do what “HE” thought was best for the team, and it’s another to mess with the nature of the business.

    • 4 rings says:

      For everyone complaining POPs decision was bad are fool. Our bench had the lead going into the last 2 minutes. The fans should be excited to know the spurs bench can play with the heat. Remember guys and gals the spurs are no joke and the most professional team in the NBA. I know lebron, wade also have pops back for the comments they said after the game. Stern only cares about his obligation to sponsors, he could care less about coachs and franchises decision to rest their player.

    • Common Sense says: