Spurs Deliver Their Stern Response


SAN ANTONIO — It was the kind of night when you expected Tim Duncan to take the court wearing flip-flops, Tony Parker in straw hat and sunglasses and that annoying Manu Ginobili to be squirting SPF-50 in the eyes of the Grizzlies.

After all, the Spurs were coming off the most infamous vacation since Mitt Romney’s dog took a road trip strapped to the roof of the family car.

But in the end, it was hardly a day at the beach.

The Spurs had to come from 14 down in the fourth quarter and get through five more minutes of overtime to deliver the kind of 99-95 drama that commissioner David Stern had wanted for the TNT audience on Thursday night from Miami.

When the Big Three plus Danny Green didn’t stick around for that affair and, under the orders of coach Gregg Popovich, flew home for a few extra days of R&R, it touched off the kind of up-from-the-ground fire that used to send out a call to Red Adair.

So perhaps it was only natural that the players at the center of the controversy were motivated to provide and extra spark of their own to defend their coach after the $250,000 fine.

Call it “Win One For the Tripper.”

“We definitely have always got Pop’s back,” said Parker, who had eight of his 30 points in the overtime. “I felt like it was for Pop. I wanted to be super aggressive and make sure we win the game.”

Though none of them would say it, this was their way of sticking a thumb in eye of the commissioner for meddling in their team business, a quarter-million-dollar zinger, so to speak.

It was the Grizzlies, playing the second night of a back-to-back, who looked frazzled, worn out and just plain gassed coming down the stretch.

Prior to the game, Popovich spoke about the fine for the first time and said he was “disappointed” in the league’s action, but did nothing else to ruffle the feathers of the league office.

“What I do from my perspective is a coaching perspective,” Popovich said. “I think the league operates from a business perspective, and that’s reflected in the action they took.

“That’s that, and we move on.”

Memphis still has the best record in league, but the fresher down the stretch Spurs proved their point. That they made their biggest move by climbing out of such a fourth-quarter hole only made the whole thing more delicious.

“I really just tried to come out and play hard,” said the 36-year-old Duncan, who had 27 points and 15 rebounds and his highest-scoring first half since 2004. “I got some shots going early and continued to attack.”

“I felt good in overtime,” said Parker with an extra twinkle in his eye. “I had two days off. So I felt like I had a lot of energy.”

Win One For the Tripper. Message delivered.


  1. Neutral says:

    Support Popovich. Stern owes us an apology! Stern please resign now!

  2. the goat says:

    I think the nba schedrule is rediculous look at the epl in england some of the teams play 2 or 3 times a week (only on the oddd occasion) and the top multi million dollar players are regualy rested and thats a low impact sport compared to what the nba stars put there body through, no wonder the league is awash in injurys, if a older veteren team wants to make a strong bid at the championship they should be resting more players far more often

  3. me says:

    I like KG but I swear sometimes I wish Duncan was on the Celtics instead. I just feel like he’s slacking, yea he’s not Duncan but I always thought KG was the better of the two in their younger days and if Duncan still bring in 26 points a night, I don’t see why KG can’t. KG get competitive!

  4. Jay says:

    Some of the people on this blog say things to defend their team when its not about it. The Spurs pulled one out for their respective team. It didn’t matter who had a meltdown or who scored better or anything. The Spurs and the Grizzlies both played an equally good game, the spurs came out on top and they did a good thing for Pop. End of story

  5. Nunna Yobinnes says:

    Stern needs to retire as he is obviously senile now.

  6. Daniel T says:

    Something to be considered is that of the Spurs that did not get to rest from the Miami game, only one FG was scored during the first half. Everyone was missing their shots, pretty much throughout the game, other than the Spurs rested Big Three. The Memphis game might have gone much more in the Spurs favor if the other players hadn’t also been worn down by the schedule.

  7. janrarandoobidoo says:

    I’m with you Coach.

  8. Broderick says:

    I mean no malice but I hope LeBron sprains his pinky on his shooting hand when they go to San Antonio. Stern would be pissed lol

  9. TS says:

    How do we help the Lakers pay for their new coach? I got an idea… let’s fine the Spurs.

  10. Jess says:

    Those on here saying Pop had rested his players before are full of it or complete idiots. The only time coaches can do this is at the end of the season right before the playoffs for games that won’t make a difference at that point in the season. To do this during November is absurd to say the least. Keep apologizing for this jerk. It makes you look like one too. Ugh…. America has truly become dumbed down.

    • GotNext says:

      I would have to disagree, the spurs big three are much older and you have to take that into consideration when you read this article. Older players are not as effective when playing multiple games in a row, due to the wear and tear on their bodies. From the spurs point of view this was the best move for the team. Next time this won’t happen, they will be at the game and they just will be spectators which will have the same effect but no fine, Loop Hole. I understand why the spurs received the fine, and on some dark inner level agree with it from a business standpoint. But POP put his players first and it was a smart move.

    • GO SPURS GO says:

      You can’t say Pop doesn’t do this. Coach Popovich is not an average coach. He does this all the time, you cannot say this if you know nothing about Pop or the franchise. You are obviously full of it if you say coaches only do this during the end of the season. When your start player is 36 and your other 2 stars aren’t far behind you cannot have them play all the time. Don’t make uninformed and arrogant comments on people that you know nothing about. Pop made an informed decision for the betterment of the team. That is why the spurs go deep into the playoffs each year rather than being a sub par team.

  11. Monique says:

    The Spurs barely pulled off the win, and only after the two lack of calls by the NBA refs that Grizzfan mentioned. They let down fans in Miami because obviously rankings mean more to them than the sport or the fans. I actually cheered for them in the playoffs last year; trust me it won’t happen again. I’ve lost all respect for them, especially their coach.

    • Bball for life says:

      Its great that everyone has their opinions on this but im not sure why some people are so angry? Yes, it would be pretty bad if you paid for tickets to the game and didnt get to see the spurs big 3, and so the fine seems justified. if anything the money should go towards the people that paid for the tickets. But at the end of the day how can you really be mad at Pops actions? Nothing he did was malicious, he was just looking after the team standings and the health of his 3 stars. The spurs have always been contenders every year except for when theres an injury to one of the big 3. One injury can change a whole season/post season. Look at the bulls without D Rose, or imagine miami last year without Bosh.
      Spurs are always committed to the post season and setting themselves up to have the best chance of winning the title. In the long run, Pops actions have provided many exciting playoff games year after year, and when you think about it, is that not in the best interest of the fans?

      Hope you change your mind and give spurs a cheer in Playoff time =)

    • paulwoodsby says:

      The only person that made a bad decision besides Stern was Popovich. Don’t blame the players or the organization for a decision Popovich made. I can’t imagine Tim or the other guys wanting to miss a game.

    • Anna says:

      Im sure no one cares if you like the spurs or not. Pop did a smart thing to rest the players, Duncan, manu and Tony are getting old and games take a toll. basketball shouldnt be about the ratings. or putting on a show for the fans!!! if your a true basketball fan, and if you say rankings are everything to the spurs your hella wrong here… whats happen to them the last 2 years??? haha. Im sure they care nothing about rankings as you now anything can happen, Griz beat at seed 8 while spurs were they number one seed. HOW COULD THEY POSSIABLE CARE ABOUT RANKINGS!!! OMG.. POP is one of the smartest coaches in this league. Thats why his players all get along and respect him. more than I can say about the grizz who all have the biggest egos ever and cant get along cuz one wants to out shine the other. !!

  12. WHAT says:

    hahaha its the start of the season hpw tired could they possibly be.

    • dattebayo says:

      When you have to play 4 games in 5 days, it doesn’t really matter whether you play them at the beginning, the middle or at the end of the season. When you play that many games in such a short amount of time you will be tired on the 5th day.

    • Kamote says:

      play basketball… or any sport for that matter… or try to have a job at least… then you’ll have an idea.

  13. Faux Outrage says:

    To all the people complaining about the Spurs-Heat game, did they actually watch the game? What part of it wasn’t excited? The Spurs played a heck of game. They led for much of the game. They were up by 7 with 2 mins to go. The Heat went on a 12-2 run to comeback. There were over 20 lead changes. Ray Allen hit a clutch jumper to give the Heat the lead with 30 seconds left to go in the game? What part wasn’t excited? If Tim Duncan scores 18 pts, it’s exciting, but if Tiago Splitter scores 18, it isn’t? If Tony Parker scores 18 points, it’s exciting, but if Gary Neal scores 18, it isn’t? I’m perplexed at how a simple coaching decision could generate so much national outrage especially since this exact coach decision has been done so many times in the past without controversy?

    • dattebayo says:

      The game was televised nationally and the league gets paid a lot of revenues for that. Stern fined the Spurs specifically for that reason alone. Had Pop rested his starters against Orlando the day before, they would not have been fined.
      And the game was boring, because the Heat played soft. They didn’t run any plays in the first quarter and took only jumpers, the first ones at the rim were Allen and Cole in the middle of the 2nd. The Spurs played great and it just shows that every player can flourish in the Spurs system. Gary Neal took a couple of bad shots, but everyone else played (almost too) unselfish and they got a lot of good shots against the Heat including open corner threes. I like the Spurs and I have no problem with Pop resting his starters, but I would have loved to see a competitive game with Parker going hard at the Heat’s D. Hopefully the game in San Antonio will be worth watching…

  14. Jeff says:

    It’s hard for me to feel sorry for these players that make millions of dollars having to play 5 games in 6 days..or whatever it was they played…on the road or at home. For what thier paid they should have been made to at least show up and start the game then the coach could have sat them. I’m a big sports fan, but I hardly even watch Pro sports for reasons like this.

  15. Joseph Tewksbury says:

    They could have rested on the bench and cheered their team on. People paid good money to see them play or at least be there. I don’t care that they beat Memphis. If they cant be there for their fans that a lot flew in from all over to see them. I mean there were a ton of heat fans too and they deserved to see the match up. All in all it was nonsense and I think that 250k. isn’t enough they should have suspended the team for a game for not having their players there at the game. Well at least more then money because that seems to never make anyone do the right thing…Oh no 1/4 of a million dollars… I have that in my sock right now!!! I think their fans should find a team that cares that the fans want to see their favorite players play or at least be part of the team during the game. I mean even injured players do that most of the time. But I guess the fans don’t matter but they do to the commissioner which is what matters. Over-payed players wouldn’t be paid if there weren’t fans. They need to remember that and cherish it. Too many other struggling that would have played even if they were dying if they could get a pay check.

  16. Ferreyra says:

    Coach with COJONES !!! Thanks POP

  17. heroes del silencio says:

    Blinebury whines and writes like 4th grade child… he REALLY needs to GO BACK TO SCHOOL!! it’s really annoying when you think you are going to read something substantial and end up reading a hollow introduction followed by nothing but a 4th grader grammar filled with 4th grader whining ideas. I am sure there are better writers out there stop paying this guy to write non-sense.

  18. Techman says:

    Some people who call themselves a fan of basketball just does not understand what they are saying before they make idiotic comments. Why would David Stern even apologize to you when he just did what is right. You think it’s fair for a fan to have paid big $$ to see two great teams and is expecting a great game but then all of the sudden one of the two teams do what Spurs did? tsk! tsk! PS: I’m not one of those fan that paid and feel they got ripped that day but can certainly understand if they hate spurs org for doing it.

  19. Grizz Fan says:

    The non call of the shot clock violation followed by the obvious foul by Ginolbli won the Spurs the game. Rest not needed if you have home cooking.

  20. Kamote says:

    Good call then for Pop. The whole debate about the interest of the team vs. the interest of the league isn’t even the point here. The aging and fatigued Spurs (5 games in 6 days) vs. the well rested champs. How could anyone say that this is looking after the interest of the league? Would the Heat fans or TNT viewers want to watch a blowout game? Or one of the Spurs big 3 getting injured? Some might, but not those who respect the game.

    With what Pop did, the NBA fans witnessed two great games. One was a Spurs team played by reserves testing the Heat’s mettle till the end, and the second was a rejuvenated Spurs team making a comeback in the 4th to beat the top team in the West. IMHO, if Pop didn’t do what he did, the fatigue might have resulted a blowout in Miami, still the same fatigue on key players might have resulted another blowout in Memphis, and worst case one of the Spurs’ 3 might get an injury. If this is what Stern has in mind as looking for the league’s best interest, then he should be the one fined.

  21. W/E says:

    Stern should be fined for his absurd actions.

  22. forest says:


  23. Karlo Garcia says:

    At least Spurs won. That all that matters.

  24. Nas says:

    I doubt this will be approved, but I must express my disdain for the majority of Fran Blinebury’s articles especially when covering this topic, they simply come across as articles a whiny child would write.

  25. Brandon says:

    A “zinger” to Stern would have been a non-contest blowout. Somehow I don’t think a good game that goes into overtime is on Stern’s list of things bad for business

  26. theking0522 says:

    BS!!!! They won because Memphis started shooting wild shots and they got careless with the ball. The Spurs were down for most of the game. Playing on Thursday wouldn’t have made any difference in today’s victory. Memphis just had a meltdown. The ones they are used to already…Remember last year’s meltdown against the Clippers in the playoffs? SA won because the other team didn’t play as well down the strech. An extra day off had nothing to do with this win.

    • rza says:

      they had a meltdown because they were playing one of the best teams if that were the wizards the grizz would have won

    • steve says:

      This is what I THINK: The Grizzlies lost because they ran out of gas. They got careless with the ball because they were tired.They were tired because they didn’t get enought rest. They didn’t get enough rest because they had to play 24 hours before their game with the Spurs. Maybe if Coach Hollins had rested his stars in the game the night before the Grizzlies would have had more energy for this game.

      • artifex says:

        I think one can always argue on why things had happened and no one knows who would have won if either Grizz had rested some players or Spurs didn’t have.
        Fact is that happened what happened and the Spurs won this game the way Popovich made them play. It worked dout and so it seemed right. Basketball wise.
        The same the league can’t know how much Heat fans care to see Duncan or Parker. They want to see their team, they like them to win and the Heat won, so I see no upset there.
        Leaves only all Spurs fans that live in Florida and had bought tickets for this game. How many there might be? I don’t know, but may be a couple, these are those I am sorry for , Spurs might find a way to address them.
        But as Spurs coach I’d do it again, I guess…

  27. SPURS FAN says:


    You won !!

  28. thesniper321 says:

    wait for stern finig them again for bringing fresher player on the floor. i’m sure he will find a way

  29. ion57 says:

    Thank you Pop for resting the stars – we don’t want an apology from David Stern !