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Duncan, Parker, Ginobili all to sit vs. Heat Thursday

Nov 29, 2012, 4:38 PM EDT

Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker AP

Well, this Thursday night showdown between two of the league’s best just got a lot less interesting.

San Antonio is taking on Miami Thursday night in what is the Spurs second night of a back-to-back and their fourth game in five nights, plus it is the final game of a six-game road trip. So as he often does, Gregg Popovich is going to give some players the night off rather than wear them out.

Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green are all going to sit out the game, reports Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News.

The four were spotted on a Southwest flight making a pre-lunch escape from central Florida. As a result, the Spurs – who were already without injured small forward Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Jackson – get set to take on the defending NBA champions using a roster of nine players.

Wait a second… Southwest? You are putting 6’11” Tim Duncan on a cattle-call flight? (No offense to Southwest, which I fly sometimes, but those planes were not built for someone Duncan’s size.) Come on, spring for first class on another airline, Spurs.

Popovich hinted this was coming before Wednesday night’s game in Orlando.

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

There are fans (particularly those that paid for tickets) who will rant about Popovich doing this. I’ve got no problem with it. He’s giving older players a rest in the middle of a tough part of the schedule — this was likely a Spurs loss anyway thanks to the schedule maker, so might as well rest his key guys. This is about how the team feels in May, not wins in November. Popovich gets it. And he could care less what the folks in the NBA officies, the TNT studios, or you or I think about it.

So, do you think LeBron James and Dwyane Wade play the fourth quarter? You think the folks at TNT are happy? Well, the Denver vs. Golden State game just became the best game of the night.

  1. raidmagic - Nov 29, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    Damn why didn’t they send them home before the Magic game, maybe we could have been within 5 last night.

  2. southbeachtalent - Nov 29, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    Popovich to League: F U

    nothing more.

    • starks3 - Nov 29, 2012 at 5:45 PM

      That was my first thought too. It’s funny how NBA or for any sport really walks a fine line between being a real competitive medium as well as an entertainment avenue and they are both one in the same. However ultimately you can’t have the one without the other.

      Sitting the players here and there probably is best when you look at it from a competitive standpoint to give guys a breather during different times of the year. However from the entertainment side, which is really how the NBA/other sports make their money, (we all watch to be entertained) this is now not entertainment and it has turned into pretty much a exhibition game and tells us nothing about either team. If more teams pull this, especially for Nationally televised games, (which is where NBA makes most of their money) the next TV contract negotiations will reflect it as TV execs will pay less for a product since they will have less viewers, and will receive less money from advertisers as a result.

      • Maxa - Nov 29, 2012 at 6:14 PM

        I don’t know, I think that entertainment value and competitive excellence basically coincide. I mean yeah, it’s a drag to attend a regular season game where the stars don’t play. But you know what’s worse? Attending a playoff game where those stars don’t play because they got injured from overuse during the regular season.

      • starks3 - Nov 29, 2012 at 7:19 PM

        The bottom line always comes down to money. Take a look at it from a different perspective. Say TNT/ESPN go to NBA and tell them to remove the Spurs from any future nationally televised games from here on out. (which the would be totally justified in doing) No national coverage equals less interest in the team, (including playoffs which would result in smaller tv ratings during playoffs) less interest equals less merchandise sales for Spurs. Now Spurs ownership loses money, and NBA loses money. What would happen if Saints and Falcons decided to sit Brees/Ryan tonight because its a short week (similiar to Popo’s excuse) and we had to watch Chase Daniel and Luke Mcnown instead. Goodell would not stand for it. As a result that is why NFL is more popular than NBA because the NFL gets it in regards to putting a quality product out there. Hence the reason they protect the QB’s so much, because no one wants to watch the backups I named above and nobody even knows who the Spurs bench is.

      • scalfor3 - Nov 29, 2012 at 8:16 PM

        Starks: Comparing the NFL to the NBA isn’t fair. You’re comparing a 82 game schedule to a 16 game one. Of course the intensity in each regular season game is higher. Benching Brees for Daniels would be suicide for the Saints, especially at this point of the season. What Pop is doing will barely be a blip on the radar of the Spurs season.

      • starks3 - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:45 PM

        I think you misinterpreted my point. Im not arguing the strategy aspect. Im saying it does the NBA no good when people like me dont tune in when I know it is a sham of a game. Im not tuning in to see 11th and 12th men getting major PT.

  3. edwardsro - Nov 29, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    Stern will eventually step in and not allow this. It’s bad for the league. What if other teams start resting non injured players. Fans won’t pay top money if they don’t get what they paid for

  4. thenmoveback - Nov 29, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    I was really looking forward to this game, now I guess I’ll watch the nfl game and jump to this during commercials.

  5. bowwserr - Nov 29, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    edwardsro – What’s bad for the league is when marquee names – such as Duncan, Parker, or James or Wade for that matter – get injured unneccessarily and habe to sit out multiple games. We Spurs fans are used to it, and I actually like to see it. It shows the league what we can do without the Big 3. Plus, that kind of experience for the guys that will be playing is invaluable. Intelligence is what wins multiple rings.

  6. cakemixa - Nov 29, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    Lol, Pop really hates TNT, doesn’t he?

  7. 1972wasalongtimeago - Nov 29, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    18,000 people paid hundreds/thousands of dollars to see the Heat play the Spurs. You want to make a stand Popovich, do it when your team is playing Miami at home.

    • lmoneyfresh - Nov 29, 2012 at 6:58 PM

      Uhhh, no. If you’re going to sit your guys, might as well do it on the road as opposed to in front of your fans.

  8. lakerluver - Nov 29, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    This dude is a clown!! How can the NBA let him do this?!! He’s been pulling this crap for years and the Spurs haven’t won anything since 07!! And they won’t win another title anytime soon.

    • hardballtalkusername - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:45 PM

      My God not since 2007! 5 years without an NBA title, what an awful coach. Please

  9. 1972wasalongtimeago - Nov 29, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    But you know some guy on the Spurs you never heard of is going to put up 30 tonight while going 8 for 11 from 3.

    • southbeachtalent - Nov 29, 2012 at 5:43 PM

      no doubt

    • eventhorizon04 - Nov 29, 2012 at 8:38 PM


  10. canehouse - Nov 29, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    got a nice bit of money for this one on my stubb ticket that i sold… feel bad for the guy i sold them to… i think i will refund him to face value. what a bummer!!!

  11. rj2323 - Nov 29, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    Fudge mc nuggets

  12. mgavin78 - Nov 29, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    Pissed if you paid to see this “game”.

  13. eagles512 - Nov 29, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    Sitting them is one thing. But not having them sit on the bench is an absolute disgrace. They should get a huge fine for this.

  14. paulhargis53 - Nov 29, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    Lakers haven’t won in nearly 3 years either, and they aren’t anytime soon either.

    Unlike you giving oral pleasures to your next fella. That happens nightly.

  15. abchome - Nov 29, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    It’s ridiculous to tank a game this blatantly. If you have to sit old players for “maintenance”, sit them in a way that the team remains competitive every game. Tanking tough games against top teams is not only irresponsible and disrespectful but also coward.

    • savvybynature - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:32 PM

      The Spurs want to win as many games as possible, not play as many “competitive” games as possible.

      I get your point of view as a fan, but the Spurs are chasing titles here. Ultimately, every team doing their best to win it all is what will deliver the best product for fans, and the Spurs are doing that.

  16. buffalowned - Nov 29, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Seriously though why wouldn’t he sit them against Orlando when they could’ve still won without those guys. He’s basically forfeiting the game and turning a marquee matchup into a joke. At least this strategy worked last year when the spurs won it all..oh wait

    • scalfor3 - Nov 29, 2012 at 8:19 PM

      Ah yes, the Spurs surprised everyone by making it to the conference finals last year. But because they didn’t win it all, this strategy is garbage. Logic!

  17. cosanostra71 - Nov 29, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    Wow, I’d be mad if I had tickets to go to this game. NBA games are expensive now!

  18. jowmapue - Nov 29, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    Reblogged this on Jow's World.

  19. BigBeachBall - Nov 29, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    popovich is old school… but this decision will get hammered by the league…

  20. savvybynature - Nov 29, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    Heat haven’t played since Saturday, meanwhile this is the Spurs 4th game since Sunday.

    This was basically a scheduled loss for the Spurs anyway, so tactically Pop is absolutely right to sit his guys. It’s an out-of-conference, essentially meaningless game for them, whereas they have a very important game on Saturday against Memphis.

    I give Pop credit for doing what is best for his team, which is his job, and not bowing to league pressure. To hell with Stern and the league office anyway. If they want to fine Pop for this, they might as well fire him and Stern can set their starting lineup and figure out their rotations if he wants to micromanage every team’s decisions. I’m sure he’d love to play Duncan 44 minutes a night to maximize ratings, since he’d rather L.A. and Miami play in the finals anyway.

  21. bratbeach - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    Yeah, it kinda sucks to go see a game and not have the star players playing but players miss games all the time for a variety of reasons and part of coaching is managing your players minutes and health. Injuries, personal matters, suspensions, precautionary health moves, blowouts, poor play, etc. lineups change for game to game, any fan has to know that. Buying a ticket to a game is not an absolute guarantee that all the star players will be playing 40+ minutes or that it will be a competitive game.

    The fact that he sent them home instead of having them sit on the bench seems odd but making the decision to rest important players that you will need for a playoff run, players who are also in their 30s and have played several games in a relatively small window of time, just isn’t an outrageous decision to me. It seems like people are just mad that he rested them for THIS game and not with the idea of resting them in general.

  22. larrybrown43 - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    I’ve said it all along. Just more affirmation that the he NBA season is a joke. 25 less games make for a better product. Less is more.

    There are too many games where players go through the motions. I credit coach Pop for saving fans from the illusion.

    • dko83 - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:52 PM

      You’re right about the less is more part. 65 game season needs to happen..

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