Pop Didn’t See This Trouble Coming


It is easy to believe Gregg Popovich is surprised at David Stern signaling he will come down hard on the Spurs for resting everyone this side of George Gervin on Thursday against the Heat. Popovich not only used the same tact in the past without hint of retribution, he was incredulous late last season when asked whether there was concern from the NBA high sheriffs regarding his lineup decisions.

“Why would there be?” Popovich responded.

Because the league has fined teams before for sitting players en masse.

“I don’t know that,” Popovich said.

This was in April, as the Spurs’ R&R policy was becoming a league debate and getting particular attention with the obstacle-course moment of a back-to-back-to-back just before the playoffs. Popovich, long known for conserving minutes of a veteran roster anyway, had a team surging at the right time, in contention with the Thunder for something as valuable as the best record in the Western Conference and home-court advantage until at least The Finals. Yet even then, he was still looking for nights off for Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

“The first time we did it was in Portland,” Popovich said of the Feb. 21 game with Duncan and Parker resting and Ginobili injured. “For a variety of reasons, we sat our guys. I got a letter from a gentleman who was disappointed because he came to the game with his cousin, they paid money and they wanted to see so-and-so and so-and-so. I wrote him back and I said, ‘If I was in your position, I would write the same letter. I agree with you totally. You’re right. But my priorities are different than yours.’ In the general sense, frankly, everything doesn’t go our way in life. Everything go your way every day? Sometimes things happen. That’s the way it goes.”

Classic Pop.

The Spurs had their hand slapped last season for listing Duncan as a DNP – Old when Duncan got a March 25 hiatus against the 76ers, and Popovich said he wouldn’t go the snark route anymore, noting how “There are some that didn’t think that was humorous.” It is different, a reporter suggested, when a player can be inactive for a game as opposed to the days of old of needing to list a player as injured whether he was or not.

“Since that rule change,” Popovich said, “I’d be surprised if somebody’s been called like, ‘Why didn’t you play so-and-so today?’ I’ve never gotten a call like that and I don’t know anybody who has.”

Coaches don’t have to phony up a case of the flu or tendinitis.

“They’ve made honest individuals out of us all,” Popovich said. “It’s our opportunity to repent and be honest.”

Now to find out months later what it gets him.


  1. macky says:

    Pop is protecting his interest, The commish is also protecting his interest.

    Its plain politics with a one sided outcome, Spurs should sue!

  2. Lemon says:

    Does anyone know how many NBA players are not playing because they are resting? Plenty.
    The ‘pretend to be injured’ is out there all the time. I think it’s really a bad dicision for Stern to
    fine spurs for that. Instead give a warning and make up new rules. There is no reason to
    make Pop look bad. I had no idea Stern was allowed to tell coaches what to do with their
    players as long nobody is physically hurt. Spurs fans are very very loyal. They are not
    going to get that upset. This is blown out of proportion and very stupid.

  3. AL Thompson says:

    Ok, now the Comish. has stepped in, I think it was fair for what the fine was actually for. As I understand it, the fine was for notification issues. As I heard it, Not notifying the League, the Miami Heat, and the Media in a timely fashion was what the fine was actually for. So in that set of existing League rules Comish. is on point. If he (the Comish.) doesn’t say too much more than that and stays to that issue, it would be perfect because it allows for the practice but says you just have to make the notifications. That way the league IE. the Comish. can get right on the phone with the Team Owner and hash it out in private before the fact. In a nasty heated you better not or else conversation.

    So no Boo for the Comish. yet in this matter.

    Boo the Coach for having the Balz to rest the players. even if he should.. lol

    Boo the Players for taking the personal days off.. even though I do…. lol,

    So its intact that coaches can play who they want, when they want, why they want, as it should be. Just Notify who you’re supposed to, when you’re supposed to, why you’re supposed to.

    and fans, BOO loud and BOO long accordingly

    Pop Timmy Tonny and Manu. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, you sure will hear me Boo you all at Madison Square Garden, if your not to tired that night. But then I would have Boo’ed you anyway just because……………… AL Thompson

  4. KP says:

    Stern…………you can not make a rule in the middle of the game.What are you doing? you should know the rule better than any other people in the basketball circle. there are so many basketball game played with the wrong call and in the end effect the result……why don’t you just change the score line in the end of the game? if not, why you start making rule with stupid reason? rule should make before the league start if you are concerning. Spurs have done nothing wrong at all. Spurs should take a big action with this call not because of the fine, is because of Stern are making no rule into rules and changing the league anytime he like to……this is unacceptable!

  5. theking0522 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. Why risk a Lebron injury playing against the Lakers, right?

  6. wayne says:

    Sanctions? He increased viewership, increased national attention on the NBA, became the lead and promoted story on every sports channel. increased traffic on Spurs, Heat, and NBA websites, and gave the bloggers something to pontificate about to increase readership. Any press is good press. He should be rewarded. TNT promoted “the Chuckster”at courtside, not the game. If Pop had sent him home, they might have an issue

  7. zombie6219 says:

    WTF!!!! David Stern you need to Man up A**h**e! Admit it It’s all about the $$$, You Just Happened to show up for the match up Between The Spurs & The Heat & You Got Ripped Off when The Top Dawgs were not played to conserve them for Saturdays Game. Shows you how much you know about Greg Popovich’s Coaching skills A**h**e! The SPURS are a Small Market Team even though they have 5 Championship Rings & You are NOT The NBA! Give The Spurs Credit where Credit is Due & Show them more on the National Spotlight instead of 3 Games a Year on TNT,ABC or TBS Then coach a couple of Games & Talk to me. By The Way A**h**e The $250,000 Fine was worth it just because you showed your true Color on T.V. Last Night (GREEN) LOL…GET RID OF STERN ALREADY!!!

  8. BobDawg says:

    Hey, POP……don’t ever make Tim Duncan your 6th man!!!! You’ll probably get suspended for 25 games because the fans won’t get to see him on a jump ball!!!!!!!

  9. BobDawg says:

    David Stern can rot in HELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Spurs cost themselves a game by not playing their All-Stars. That’s it!!!!! To put sanctions against them because they didn’t please all the fans is a crock!!!! This is why the NBA is the least popular sport around!!!! I’m a Celtic fan. I used to watch all of their televised games from beginning to end. Now, I will catch a minute or 2 of a game and that’s it. College hoops……I’ll watch quite a bit of a good game. After this…….I won’t watch 30 seconds of any game. I guess the NFL should suspend players for not playing in the last game of the year when they have the #1 seed wrapped up because the fans will be upset!!!!! As far as the NBA goes…………Join the NHL and practically don’t exist any more!!!!!! Go to HELL David Stern you old decrepid A$$HOLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. James says:

    If someone pays money too see a superstar play and he doesn’t play because he’s tired you will Piss alot of people off. David stem is trying to keep attendance up so the NBA can flourish financially

    • Crazy says:

      No tickets are sold as ‘Tim Duncan’ versus LeBron they are sold as Spurs Vs Heat. Did I miss the non-Spurs playing? What happens if your team traded a player to an arch-rival mid season…do you get a refund?

      • James says:

        I’ll put It this way I’m a okc fan if I paid money to watch a game live and Durant didn’t play because he’s old I would be pissed and so would you. Being traded and actually being injured is a total different ball game. Face it the game is big because of the superstars and if you ask the fans they will probably tell you they were upset because Parker wanted too rest. it is disrespectful too the fans and hurts the NBA financially.

  11. Carl Benett says:

    This is ridiculous. Stern claiming that people got robbed because they paid to see Spurs starters. ALL THE TIME I hear that the Spurs are a boring team, or that they don’t play exciting, or whatever. Now you wanna complain when their starters are sitting? Let’s be honest, nobody outside of die hard spurs fans cares about the Spurs. Especially considering Miami’s Big 3 still played, and it was still a close and competitive game. Go sit down Stern.

  12. TL says:

    Why can’t Popovich choose his starter? Coach can choose on his team’ advantage, regarding on his players situation, Spurs’ players average age may higher than other teams. I think Pop can change his roster according to the situation of his players. No one is a “must” starter, Pop can even use Tim, Tony, Manu for starters and let them play 1 min and use other “bench” for the remaining 47 mins to response to the Stern’s action. David Stern only view on the commerical side, however, i don’t think he has the right to stop the rotation of the Spurs’ rosters. David Stern, it’s your time to retire now, not next year!

  13. Ryan James says:

    I worked for customer service before and now a technical support. Expectations means a lot to customers. I understand Pop’s stand about the issue [resting stars to conserve their energy and avoid injuries] but customer is always right [they pay a lot to watch those stars to be on the court].

    For this to be a win-win situation for everyone, Spurs should have announced that their key players will be rested for that game against the Heat.

    Spurs fans will understand that because they want their Spurs to be champs again.

    Proper expectation should be given to the paying fans that their stars aren’t there on that game.

    I think that would be better.

  14. Litvin says:

    Punishing the Spurs is crazy. In the same sense, then, the great figures should have a minimum of minutes per game. Stern, thanks for everything, it’s time retirement

  15. karibkween says:

    First we’re told that the Spurs are boring and no one outside of San Antonio; except for most of Latin America and Western Europe, cares about them. Now we must believe that Miami fans felt cheated because TD Manu and TP didn’t suit up for a regular season game against the Heat, after having played four games in five nights on the road? Puhleeze! I actually preferred this game to their game against the Clippers earlier this year when a virus was making its way through the entire team while they were on another difficult back-to-back West Coast schedule, with TD as patient zero. I think they won a close game against the Lakers and then stunk it up against the Clips. As a Spurs fan the last thing I want is a season ending injury to Tony, Timmy or Manu, and since one is most likely with fatigue I have no problem with coach Pop protecting any of his players.

  16. Tim L says:

    Why is it perfectly okay for baseball stars to get left out of the lineup for rest, but not NBA stars when the coach feels it is in the best interests of the club? Baseball is not half as strenuous on the body day to day as full court basketball. Stern, I would be very careful about how you decide. A coach should be able to run his team as he sees fit. Get off your high horse.

  17. Bunsenburner says:

    Power to Pop. Stern is such a crybaby, this isn’t the WWF, this is real sports.

  18. R Jones says:

    Pop has every right to rest his veterans when the schedule hands them 5 games in 7 nights. Fans will be disenfranchised later in the season when the starters are out for an extended period of time due to injury. David Stern is only worried about the money and his big ticket players. It’s not a coincidence that big jersey sellers like Durrant and Lebron were in the play offs. Stern is used to manipulating the league to suit who he believes are the majority of the fans. I only watch the Spurs because I appreciate the integrity of their organization and the respect for their program and the coach by the players. I am so sick of big time players running the show on some teams. Now Stern wants to control one more aspect of how teams operate. If more coaches were like Pop and more players were like the Spurs it would actually be about the game of basketball.

  19. jose says:

    Players and teams have some work to do : bring in a respectable show. If they dont , thay failed doing their work and they have to pay back money.
    Stern is OK.
    Spurs had to play Duncan ,Ginobili,Parker , Green for a given amount of minutes .Then they could have them resting for the rest of the night or so.
    That would be different . That would show some respect for the fans and the NBA

  20. jose says:

    Lets say this: Three spurs players get ejected in the game because a fight. two more are fouled out.One more spained an ankle . If you are Pop..What are you gong to do???????

  21. Bandinabox says:

    Stern, do the Basketball world a huge favor and please step down as commissioner sooner. Pop is smart, he didn’t want to risk injuries to his star players. Especially to a heavily NBA favored team like the Heat. They get away with alot of hard fouls and rarely get called unless they are blatant or close to flagrant fouls. Lebron never gets called for charges and these ghost foul calls on him that these horrible TNT announcers keeps covering up for the refs is just pitiful.

  22. povilas(lithuania) says:

    Most americans fans idiots :))))some of the comments make me lol… what i want to say pop is the coach and only he can make a desicion what is good for the team, in europe we supporting teams not a players ,cos players come in and goin out or the team u support is the same whatever who is playing for the team 🙂

  23. AndT says:

    For all the rest that Pop keeps giving his team, it only lets them get as far as the playoffs. It hasn’t changed the result compared to years where he didn’t rest them – Spurs still lose ultimately. Manu and Tony are injury-prone players. He can rest them all he wants, their style of play is what gets them injured (especially Manu) not the hectic game scehdule. So ultimately what he’s doing is meaningless in the long run. I think that Stern getting involved is wrong. But I also think it’s rather convenient that Pop picked an away game but is choosing not rest them at home against Memphis. Why not rest them both games? Because then he’d have to face Spurs management, ticket dealers, and fans. So let’s not act like he’s doing this in the interest of his team.

    • Addi says:

      a prime time game that doesnt matter one bit, or a conference game that could decide the #1 seed in the west eventually? obviously a hater, it was a smart move by pop to rest his fatigued players vs the well rested heat. its not like he didnt bother coaching the game anyways pop treats all his players the same and he trusts the bench. overall a great move and shows why hes one of the best at developing players seeing contributions from all of the role players and keeping the game close

    • Crazy says:

      Fatugie causes most injuries in non-contact sports. Please research.

  24. Logic says:

    Much better article than Fran Blinebury’s. At least showing respect for Popovich, a much more talented and respected individual than Stern. Keep doing things like this in your final years Stern. You will surely be remembered as a dictator.

  25. ademtchas says:

    this is ridiculous and funny. I mean D Stern should be ashamed of himself. You put people to play 4 games in 5 nights and now u want to fine them for resting players? unbelievable. No matter what any team want to do with its line-up, Stern should stay out of it. I cant wait for him to get the h out of this league for good.

  26. Jojo says:

    unprofessional on part of Pop, he should be penalized.

    I admired Lebron and Dwayne for playing their best despite mismatch they were able to overcome challenges, Lebron is a competitor and loves challenges. It become an all star game as lebron and dwayne aimlessly shooting the ball except for the last 3 minutes of the game. the game was totally ruined.

    A admired coach Spo for fielding his superstars against Spurs bench. Spo could have fielded his bench team also if he likes but opted to act professionally.

    Pop deserved nothing, win or loss,

    • dd def says:

      ok… 1) how is it unprofessional? because he’s more focused on winning titles than individual games and you’re small mind can’t wrap itself around that? 2) that shouldn’t have been a challenge, what the hell are you even talking about? raining champ, with raining mvp, struggling against bench and reserves? HA yeah, challenges to overcome i’m sure. 3) no other business in the world penalizes management for giving time off to its employees. the only person guilty of being unprofessional here is stern and poo jackson. without the coaches and players they have nothing, and it’s not his place to decide how coaches will coach, how organizations with work, which trades will or won’t go through. he just makes up rules and regulations on a whim as he sees fit, yeah, that’s really professional. why doesn’t he just start telling the players HOW they should play, and if they don’t follow HIS game plan then they’ll be penalized. cause that’s exactly what he’s doing to Pop. so if LeBron takes a 3, stern can suspend him. how bout that?

    • W/E says:

      u must be a Heat fan, must felt awfull last night when ur team struggled so badly vs the Spurs bench.

  27. smdhead says:

    The NBA should just uniform the ticket prices just to less expectations. National TV or not. 80 bucks for SAS WAS game then some 500 bucks on a MIA SAS? don’t think about the fans affected that paid $500 of that game, they shelled out 500 for crying out loud!! btw, it’s not in any way pop’s fault. So, shut it up stern..

  28. Game Time says:

    My conspiracy theory on this is that once Stern go wind of what was happening, he contacted the Miami origination and told them to make this game close, but then the Spurs players really ended up giving Miami a run for their money.

  29. No Look Lay Up says:

    cant wait till this stern guy leaves , people say he did alot for the NBA. the only thing he did was speed up the process, basketball would have gone global anyway,…. you really think baseball or hockey, football or even soccer can compete with the game of basketball internationally …….NO WAY…….dont get me wrong hes has done positive things for the NBA, but i dont put that much importance on him like some players do.

    Stern trying to pick pocket his players, dude is quick to fine you for any and every reason, you want the truth………..follow the money !

  30. Shannon says:

    So I would just like to say that, yes it is disappointing to go to a game and not get to see the big names you want to, however being someone who has played the games for years i support Pops decision. It is not the first time he has done it, so why is he now “getting in trouble” for it. The reason? Its a national stage and league loses money, and Stern is more concerned about money than players, which is obvious when you look at he only gave Rondo a 2 game suspension for fighting. Its just kind of ridiculous where the priorities lie in the NBA. Let a coach do his job and that includes making decisions for his team and not for fans,

  31. Dennis - Bulls Fan says:

    Who is the coach, Stern or Pop?

  32. Gomezd says:

    Stern shouldn’t do anything because it get out of control fast. You cant have a double standard so if he fines the spurs then they are going to have to start fining all those teams that tank games at the end of the season to get better lottery odds, he will have to start fining all those teams that tank in order to get a more favorable match up in the playoffs and they would have to start fining all teams that have their seeds locked up and rest their players also.

    Truth is this is about as meaningless game as it gets from the spurs point of view. Back to back and fourth game in 5 nights against the defending champs? Even under best of circumstances the spurs lose this game. Why would you wanna risk your best players on a game like this? its just like the last game of the season with a locked seed.

  33. Puwit says:

    As a fan of basketball I understand the disappointment of some not seeing the spurs’ big 3 play. But it’s the coach’s job to make sure his players are fit and well. If he thinks this move is beneficial for the team in the long run, why penalize him for that? If he played the big 3 this game and they lose to lesser teams then next few games because of fatigue, people would be flaming at Pop not resting his big 3… It was his move, and people should respect that. If we keep on clamping down on decisions the coaches make, then might as well not let them coach at all..

  34. Bhoymax says:

    Stern can say the same thing Popovich said to that fan who wrote him a letter, he has a league to run and priorities to prioritize. 😛

  35. RJ says:

    The Bucks haven’t played Drew Gooden 1 minute this year. Stern is doing this intentionally because it’s the Spurs.

  36. concrete_allstar says:

    i think its great to see the Heat celebrating like the just won a title…they almost lost to the second and third string Spurs..If Pop doesn’t want to play his players..his decision..he’s the coach..Stern should have no say in the way a player coaches his team.

    • Crazy says:

      I agree completely, Stern needs to stay out of whos playing who isn’t, whos inactive and who’s called up from the D league.. Until the league decides to require all players to play x number of minutes (No DNPs allowed) any discussions of sanctions are ridiculous. Teams always Inactivate players to pull from D league…you have injuries, you have family emergencies…. you have simple DNPs…a suspension from a previous altercation (gee would the league have to fine itself for removing a star from a game…Rondo for the next few nights for example) maybe it was punishment for missing practice or a meeting…this is not for Stern to decide.

      I’m sorry but muscular and emotional fatigues are medical conditions and warrant the same treatment as any other ailment. Maybe there is an issue with the 4 being sent home rather then being in building not dressed, but really there isnt much difference if the argument is that one came to see them play. A coach decides who plays and who doesn’t, not the league.

      On a side note, the NBA champs are supposed to receive the most difficult schedule…how is it 4 games in 16 days for the heat (3 or 4 most other teams) and that they always get the good west teams on the second night of back to backs….so much for the tougher schedule I’d say.

  37. Mike Z says:

    I arrest my case on Webb’s question to Shaq “If you go to a concert and your favorite raper don’t show, you want your money back?” Shaq “Yeah!!!” Fans are paying for a product (I can’t believe I’m saying this for a game I love) and they want their monies worth. Kenny, you are wrong, wrong and wrong. The only right thing you said is change the rules… Lost all respect for Pop especially after he says now “The decision was made when the schedule came out” Didn’t tell the fans that Miami was selling fraudulent tickets advertized as “come see The Spurs with Tim Duncan et.al.” Disrespectful.

    • E-Dubbz says:


    • Mister 215 says:

      @ Mike Z…. First of all you rest youre case not arrest…. It’s fitting that you say rest you your case because Pop did just that last night…. He showed everyone what happens when you coach. He let his best players rest and still almost came away with a win against the defending champions in their home. Is that not getting your MONEY’s worth??? You pay to see a good game and not a boring, or bad game. Isn’t that why fans leave the game early regardless who is playing. My favorite player is Kobe, but if I see him playing and they getting blown out, trust me when I say that I will not stay and watch the rest of the game. Did I pay to see him yes, but that’s only part of why you pay, the other half is to either see your team blow someone out or come away with a win, which is all we really care about is winning. The game went down to the wire and was a very intense and good game. Sounding like a kid, man up… I expect this attitude from a child, because they don’t understand the ends and outs.

  38. Addi says:

    Nothing wrong with what Pop did, hes just looking out for his players like any coach would. People always complain that Spurs games are boring so why do they all of a sudden care about the Spurs? Pop is brilliant its nothing against the Heat, its the game on saturday against the Griz that is an overall more important win to go for. If the Spurs 2nd and 3rd strings would’ve won then what? The Spurs didnt have intent on winning this game but they did battle for it so you cant complain there. People who actually saw the game were interested and Heat-Haters were hopeful they lost to “a bunch of no names” if it was a blowout this would be a different story but at least Pop out coached Spo again and gave them trouble

  39. Deneice evans says:

    RESPECT….Whats that? these youn men make BIG TIME MONEY every night they need to be ready to go to work. I paid top dollars for my tickets I wanted to see top competitors, all star players, key ballers, and top contenders. VERY WEAK MOVE from Gregg Popovich.

    • ademtchas says:

      cmon really? Greg is free to do anything he wants with his lineup. what if he decides to put Duncan and Parker on the bench and play them less than 5min?

    • AK47 says:

      why is it a bad move? there’s nothing bad with that. and These are not young men anymore. They are getting old, and if you played like 1000+ games, you’ll feel that you’re body is not used to those kind of endurance games, especially when you’re gonna play another 82 game season, and + the 16-20 games in the playoffs. Be realistic here. If you want your grandpa to play 32 minutes of basketball, because he’s being paid millions of dollars, it’s like letting him being beaten and battered by a much younger and athletic team like Miami.

      Sure, everyone pays when you watch, but cmon.. these guys are not the ones in the 2k13 video game, they too need to rest because of the grueling schedule they faced. And besides, the bench did a good job facing the MIAMI HEAT. You got to respect how the COACH TRUSTED his BENCH and how HE well train his players and how he loves those guys.

  40. rommel says:

    why should popovich be punished? for resting his tired players o common. He is the coach of the spurs. He knows what he is doing . He is a great coach. He is just looking after His teams health and why should he be punished. for taking care of his team? o common

  41. James says:

    I agree with resting players that are older… But I do not believe in resting players on the road… Especially the east coast. For me, I’m not even a Spurs fan, I don’t make a lot of money and live in Charlotte. I’ve been a Lakers fan my whole life and always got the nosebleed seats,even back when the hornets were here. But now that Kobe is getting older, I am thinking of paying significantly more to go lower level. And it’s a commitment. I can’t sneeze and that money comes out. And say, I did buy that expensive ticket, a ticket I’ve beeen waiting to do my whole life. And Kobe sits… because he’s old. Not because he’s injured or anything like that… Just because the coach can. In my opinion, that’s not right. If you’re going to rest your players. Do it at home games, not away games. Don’t play them for 3 games in a row for all I care at home.

  42. Abel says:

    Fans complaining need to stop whining. seriously.

  43. JA says:

    Fools (those casual fans that feel hurt). Because if you actually watched the game, then you would know it was surprisingly awesome, it wasnt a blowout or a big yawn like most (including me I admit expected).
    So while initially I also thought it was going to just be a terrible game to watch, it wasn’t, period. So I would actually like to see what the ratings were and how they matched to the estimate Stern and the NBA had, because thats their beef right? ratings. Sten was bitchin’ before the game even started.
    Now in Pop’s defense. After the game ended his actions were justified (Spurs bence actually almost won). And also keep in mind 2 vital things, one if the arbitrary schedule the Spurs endured in comparison to other teams, and the second is that Pop could have played Duncan, Parker and Ginobili for 5 minutes then have them sit on the bench, he didn’t. So show the man some respect.

  44. The Gawd says:

    100% agree people no all NBA fans need to realize this.

  45. William A Johnston says:

    Greg Popovich is the coach of the Spurs not David Stern Stern should move his retirement up a year and leave the NBA now His senile remarks to reporters after the game should have never aired on TV . But he has always been very restrictive on western conference teams that are not considered large audience teams and is partial to the large audience teams on the two coasts.——

  46. Pistol says:

    “I apologize to all NBA fans. The defending champion Miami Heat had 5 days rest and nearly lost to the 3rd unit of the San Antonio Spurs. This is unacceptable and substantial sanctions are forthcoming.”

  47. Pop vs Stern says:

    Spurs bench was superb..now it’s Miami’s time to check their second squad in SA. Like Pops decision!

    • sipdesip says:

      I’d say heck YEAH, Miami! I’ll pay to watch that game, because I want to see the Spurs WIN, and I don’t care how they do it (as long as it’s legit)!!! If you want to sit your best players…no problem here – thanks! We’ll take the dub and move right on.

      I’ll campaign for that – sit the King in the ides of March!!!

  48. will says:

    stupid stern

  49. DJ3 says:

    Whatever happened to DNP – CD?

  50. Old Man says:

    Funny how the first time the Spurs get fine for doing this is when they’re playing the Heat on national television…I bet Stern wouldn’t have batted an eye if they had been playing the Wizards. Stern’s just mad because his television ratings took a hit..

    • Deneice evans says:

      You are correct that’s why this was a weak move on Popovich part, this game was on TNT and plus my ticket cost was higher.

  51. Deneice evans says:

    I understand that Gregg Popovich is a great coach; but four big players off on the same night; thats some bull.. these players get paid big time money to do something some guys do every day for free. I think all of them need to be in NBA shape. If age is a problem it’s time to go.There are different teams that play each other and the single tickets cost more. I paid an extra 80 dollars for my tickets because the Heat was playing the Spurs. I think this was a weak move on the Popovich part; because come Saturday them Grizzlies Boyz say its Grind Time and rest can’t prepare them for the beat down they going to receive from them.

    • Crazy says:

      Many injuries are caused by fatigue….so most injured players should just retire….good point.

    • sipdesip says:

      So eloquently put, Denice. I’m sure Pop thinks that their whole season is riding on the Memphis game. I’m sure he rested his guys JUST so that they could play Memphis on Saturday, and forget the rest of the season. I’m sure Pop probably thinks the other 60+ games don’t matter, because it all comes down to Memphis and their “boys”, or “boyz”, though I’m not sure if by “boyz” you mean “boys” (plural of “boy”), which these MEN are not…or if you’re just illiterate.

      (And they get paid big money, yeah…and I don’t pay big money to watch a game in November that my team wins by 30. I pay big money when my team gets to the WCF or the ECF, and to the championship series. If my team isn’t healthy, we aren’t getting that far. Just ask Rudy Gay or Zack Randolph 😉 )

      Come to think of it though…that’s pretty literate writing for a Memphis fan. I think you spelled most every word correctly. Grind Time? Did they get that from a Memphis strip club or something? Or is that a Memphis kids’ show? I’ve seen a lot of nature shows, and while I’m not a naturalist, I’ve never seen a grizzly bear grinding, unless he’s making his morning coffee.

      • Deneice evans says:

        My Soul Sister I love the game and you have to know the game to speak the language; and that’s that on that!! You heard? Oh yea I meant Grizzlies BOYZ. I am not talking about a strip club or a kid show my focus is the weak move by Popovich.

  52. Big Al says:

    Well, it’s about time to place a rule against resting star players for no apparent reason. In sports like tennis, the top-ranked guys can’t just choose which tournaments they want to play. They have to participate in a certain number of events and could only withdraw when injured. NBA is supposed to be the pinnacle of professional basketball. People come to games or watch on TV to see those who do it best, so it’s disgraceful if the league doesn’t see to that. Wouldn’t you be disappointed if you buy a ticket and don’t see any of the key players on court just because the coach chose for them not to play? Sure, there’s no law against it now, but that doesn’t make it ethical.

    • Mister 215 says:

      @Big Al…. Are you comparing tennis to basketball, then say that he was RESTING star players for NO APPARENT reason. Well apparent means to have no knowledge of why someone did something. He rested his players because they played 4 games in 5 nights, with another game tomorrow. That was apparent to me…. Back to this ridiculous comparison to tennis. Correct me if I’m wrong but tennis is only played maybe two to three months out of the year. Basketball is played from September til June. that’s ten months of playing a sport, that is not healthy for your body. The coach did the right thing for the sake of the team, so sounding like a kid that didn’t get the toy he wanted for christmas….

    • sipdesip says:

      Other sports don’t have their players sit? I give you Mr. Eldrick “Tiger” Woods, ladies and gentlemen. Tiger – and some other lesser known golfers who follow his example – plays the tournaments he WANTS to play in. Yes, he needs to compete in a certain number of them in order to maintain his ranking – and he must play well. The NBA is no different – if the Spurs do not play well over the course of a season, they don’t get to go to the playoffs. Tiger Woods wants to win big events, and so skips some events to rest for the big time stuff. Pop sending his guys home does two things: 1.) gets his big guys rest and helps them stay healthy so they can try and win a championship, and 2.) gives his bench valuable time against a great front-line unit and team (the Heat) in significant minutes to help them down the road in playoff situations. I guarantee you, there is not ONE player in the NBA who would argue with Pop on that…the Heat are happy, because they got the W. The Spurs’ starters are happy, because they got the rest. The Spurs’ bench is happy, because they see big minutes against a great team. NBA coaches are happy, because Pop didn’t sit – he coached his bench just like he coaches the starters. NBA players aren’t mad – they are probably on the Blackberry with THEIR coach saying “hey D’Antoni…you watch the Spurs game last night?”

      A fan might be mad if they can’t see ANOTHER team’s stars…but as a fan of the team facing a short squad, I want to see the W and keep moving towards the playoffs. Pop is 100% right, and if he thinks that having a greater chance to lose one game means keeping your team healthy for the playoffs, then he should be able to do it – ANY team should.

  53. BoogieBomb says:

    Look, players get hurt. It’s part of being an athlete. If Pop didn’t rest his guys and they got destroyed in the first round of the playoff, Spurs fan would be saying “Oh, this wouldn’t have happened if Pop had rested his guys” Fact is, whether we like it or not, a coach must do whatever they must to protect their players. This isn’t to say that fans don’t have a right to be upset if they go to a game and don’t see the superstars they want to see. But when they don’t win because of injuries, fatigue or whatever, then people want to complain. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. I would much rather coaches look out for their players than not. And YES, I am defending Pop. HE’S EARNED IT!!!

  54. W/E says:

    Thats the most ridiculous and absurd reason ever to fine a team. its wrong from all perspectives let the coach plan for his team and dont get in his way, fining a team for resting its starters its simply unethical.

  55. Piss Jugs says:

    If you are in the league, play the game unless you are too sick or injured. It doesn’t have to be normal minutes, just play it. If you are to old and tired to play, then retire. Simple.

  56. dan evans says:

    hey Stern, you’ve been in the league to long. resign and rest.

  57. truth says:

    They get paid millions to play…they need to play. Not only that, you guys are defending pop, when he just screwed the fans of a game that could have been epic. In the end its the fans that make the NBA possible and by allowing superstars to rest during the season it just promotes big wigs to screw us over. You idiots don’t realize….if stuff like this slides its going to hurt us at the end. Next thing you know, superstars will only play enough games to just make the playoffs. And the NBA season will be a joke. Wake up.

    • Deneice evans says:

      I agree with you; maybe one player but a group of players at one time. Pop needs another syetem, like I said that was pure bull..

      • KunJayMaster says:

        Not only that, it was televised nationally, if this would have happened on the Orlando game the night before nobody would have cared…but fans payed a lot, regular seats were going for $535…I tried to go and they they were sold out.

    • John says:

      As a long time Spurs fan, you tend to know a lot about your team’s players and coaches. Pop had this game circled in July that he was going to rest them. 4 games in 5 nights while the Heat hadn’t played since Saturday? They have a bigger game, (more meaningful game) tomorrow against a division rival in the Grizzlies. So there are some disappointed fans that didn’t get to see Duncan, Manu and TP, but like Pop said, his priorities are different than the fan’s. Sure the players are making millions to play, but the coach is being paid to coach. And coaches keep there jobs because they win in May and June. This matchup between the Heat and Spurs isn’t even the better matchup they’ll be playing. Look for March 31st when they’re in San Antonio when both teams are making their playoff push. How this game got nationally televised and March’s didn’t is beyond me. Last night’s game wasn’t even a bad game, the Spurs bench made it a really exciting game. The NBA season is already a joke, it doesn’t even really start until January, some could argue Christmas. I think people tend to forget these guys are human beings who need to rest, especially these guys who are getting older, Green only got sent home because he’s leading the team in minutes. Everyone just needs to relax and go back to ignoring my team.

      • sipdesip says:

        Thanks John, well said and no more needs to BE said. GSG. See y’all in June with a healthy big 3.

    • Mister 215 says:

      @ Truth…. You must have never played sports, because if you did you would know that it tears you body up. Tears, broken bones, ruptures, dislocation, and all the other things that come with playing sports. These guys been in the league for YEARS, and with the exception of Danny Green, they are all over the age of thirty. Youre mad because ONE GAME you didn’t see them play. I tore my ACL three years ago and I still have problems. Let them rest they deserve a night off. All they do is win and give the fans a good show. Stop being greedy and understand that it’s not about you it’s about winning, because that is what the fans pay for, sure I would want to see certain players, but ONE GAME out of 82!!!! Stop crying like a baby….. That is all.

    • therealtruth says:

      what game were you watching last night? was that game not epic? a 5 point battle against the best bench in the league? you’re an idiot if that’s your argument.

    • TTG says:

      So you think a game that had 20 plus lead changes and went to the end with the game up for grabs is a bad game?
      The Spurs are screwed by the NBA all the time, they have played the most games so far this year and have played 6 games in 9 nights. Next they play the top team in the west (Memphis) that have played 4 less games then the Spurs.
      If the NBA did not set them up for 4 games in 5 nights after being on the road for 10 days straight (They did not even go home the whole week of thanksgiving) So maybe this was a silent protest by Pop,

  58. Kelvin says:

    Pop knows what he is doing..Coach pop has a million moves and he just use another one with this and correct me if i’m wrong, but avery johnson also did that during his stint with the mavs, he rest out their main guys (dirk, jet) against the warriors and what happened next (playoffs) is something coach avery i think won’t forget.

  59. james says:

    yes pop dont conform to the new shallow nba rules

  60. Willy says:

    In golf we play by the rules. In basketball accept for traveling violations, what are the rules? You can’t fine a coach for something he doesn’t know about? Are the rules there? They should be. Ya its not right, they should travel and if they sit on the bench then they sit on the bench, or the minutes are set in rules. Pretty tough call. Danny Green is not tired he is a Greyhound!

  61. nashrambler13 says:

    I’m pretty sure it doesn’t say anywhere in Pop’s contract that he has to keep the fans happy. His job is to keep his team healthy so they can make a run for the playoffs. And for people who said it was a dis on Miami- so what? He doesn’t have an obligation to them either. And it looked like Miami had it’s hands full with the reserves, so it was some dis.

  62. Al Thompson says:

    I believe after all the dust settles its going to come down to allowing a team to do what they feel is best for the team, Including what lineup they put on the floor at anytime. The DNP (did not play) reasons are up to the team. If kept simple, at that level of thought, its a dead issue. Play who you want, why you want, when you want, its your team.

    Now from the NBA office side, their interest is to protect the Product, so I believe they surely should be concerned and make sure the quality of the NBA stays intact,,but I believe that is more a closed door conversation with the owners then a public sanction to say, you must play who we want, when we want, why we want.

    Then there are the fans. Fans Ride the tide of the team. Ultimately fans can Boo. Boo the players, Boo the coaches, Boo the owners, Boo the league. The Home team can get a financial backlash of non support at the box office but the road team is a bit harder to get at. So Boo and Boo loud and Boo long, Make it all about the Boos after all its all you got.

    Al Thompson (some times I go to Madison Square Garden just to Boo)

  63. Eaglos says:

    Is there a NBA regulation that prohibits coaches from coaching the way they like?
    I am asking because this whole thing has to do with freedom and not letting someone
    choose how to run his team.

  64. Chico says:

    It’s not fair to punish the Spurs. Ok, they did it and it is terrible to watch a game without the stars, but it’s an option for the coach, he decides who plays or not. We should remember this is, above other things, such as entertainment, a sport, and winning the championship is more important than a regular season game. If this play from Popovich is going to work I don’t know, but it’s his action as a coach, and should be respected.

    Maybe if they won, this punishment wouldn’t be available. But it’s absurd.

    Stern(I really don’t like the way he does things, I like the Cavs, but I was pissed of when he didn’t allow Lakers trade for Chris Paul last season) must remember this is a SPORT. Enternaiment is good, but It’s all about getting the trophy.

  65. Protect the Paint says:

    People need to realize that with 4 titles since 1999, and an old crew, Pop can do as he decides is best for his team.

    Giving the bench experience against the defending champs now is a great way to develop your bench while providing rest to your studs.

    Stern is just a whiny baby who needs to shut his mouth, and let the coaches coach

    Last I checked he is not a coach, and has never coached an NBA team….

    so, there…

  66. TonyG says:

    Why should he get fined or get punished for what he did. It doesn’t matter. The fans came there I bet you for the Miami Heat. Lebron, D-wade, Bosh, and whoever.. Don’t kid yourselves boys and girls, they almost lost against the Spurs bench, it was still a very good game considering. Stop whining, you still got to see all the superstars play. If it was me I would be upset as well, but I would move on and still enjoy how dwade, lebron, and whoever plays. Lucky the heat didn’t lose, that would be funny if they did though, and this will definitely be top news. STARTERLESS SPURS BEAT THE HEAT. Would be a good headline.

    • Deneice evans says:

      As a fan who loves the game, I love top competitors. That’s the reason I pay extra money for tickets. When different playoff teams play each other games tickets cost a lot more. So as a NBA fan each and every night I want to see the best. This is the reason I love the game; it’s about top competitors, all star players, key ballers, and top contenders. So I think this need to stop the NBA players make big time money. These guys need to go to work every night.

      • Brian Smith says:

        fans have a right to complain Yes, however they also should have some understanding.

        when you buy a ticket, there is no guarantee that the game will even occur on the date of the ticket (hurricane sandy and the Knicls vs. Nets)

        Your ticket gets you in to see a game , not specific players. Suppose these guys actually got hurt the night before. You get what you get, and it’s not the coaches job to make sure the fans are happy. his job is to win games.
        The best way to do that is to keep yur players healthy.

    • KunJayMaster says:

      Would have been funny if they had lost but to tell you the truth, after you’ve been preparing for 4 days for what could possibly be a finals match up and minutes before the game you find out 4 of their starters are not playing?…What do you think? Besides spur’s game plan was clear shoot from 3’s that kept them in the game they shot 10-31…Thats more than double what the Heat attempted

      • Mister 215 says:

        What I think is we should take advantage of the players not being there and get an easy win…. Look at what happened. It was a good game that went down to the wire… Fans you got your money’s worth. Stop trippin, because I’m sure that most of you never played sports and don’t understand the wear and tear that it puts on your body. Yes they make more, way more money then most people, but after playing sports your body will NEVER be the same. I tore my ACL playing football and my knee hasn’t been the same since.

  67. lol? says:

    are you serious? wow just wow stern is alwayws getting a way to screw the spurs

    • slider821 says:

      bottom line is, even if he gets fined and told not to do this anymore, the DNPs will just change to DNP – Injury, even though that may not be the full truth. Who can argue that Duncan, Parker, Ginobli didn’t had sore knees after all those games and how can the league force someone to play if they are injured.

      The league and Stern are shooting themselves in the foot with this; you can’t tell a coach to prove his players are injured and in an effort of full disclosure, the league changed it so teams didn’t have to falsly declare a player injured if they wanted to rest him for other reasons (conditioning, family emergency, old, etc). With this punishment, teams will just start doing it the old way, declaring DNP – Knee Soreness when they want to rest guys.

      • Ben Lamontagne says:

        I understand your point of view, but if they do start looking around for loopholes then they are the ones compromising the integrity of the game, not Stern legitimately calling Pop out on something that, quite, frankly, I think that 90% of other coaches around the league couldn’t get away with. Everyone is tired, everyone has core veteran players their team relies on and guess what? Everyone’s still playing: older players getting tired and slowing down over the course of the season is a reality in the NBA, its part of the risk every manager should be aware of when constructing a roster,
        What people have to realize is that, even if the game was tight and went down to the wire without the superstars, fans still have a right to gripe because those players are symbols as much as anything else. That diehard fan who has that one chance to see his hero Tim Duncan isn’t expecting him to score 30 and rip down 15 boards every night…. he just expects him to show up.

    • Joe says:

      What makes it amazing is that NBA is one person… Stern. There should be a counter power balance so that one person cannot just justify everything according to his opinion. Pop said it out right, it depends on whose point of view.

    • Dieter says:

      This is ridiculous. It’s the Spurs vs the Heat, not Duncan, Ginobili, Parker vs James, Bosh and Wade. Stern should show some respect to coaches who give all players on their team a chance. Every team has 12 players on their roster, not 3, not 7, but 12. And that’s also your rule mr Stern. Lets give out fines to team who don’t use their 12 players, lol.

      We all want to see some good basketball, and if Pop who is respected by all people who like the NBA decides to sit down some players, because he thinks it’s good for his team, than it’s his choice, and probably a good one. The ultimate goal in the NBA is to win a championship, and that is wat you see in the playoffs. Most teams play better during playoff time, should they all get fined because they could’ve been that good in regular season? Raise the stakes in regular season, and you’ll see improvement, if you don’t do that, stop whining.