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Popovich ‘disappointed’ by league’s fine against Spurs

Dec 2, 2012, 9:34 AM EDT

Gregg Popovich AP

After the NBA fined the Spurs $250,000 for resting four healthy starters for Thursday’s game in Miami against the defending champs, plenty of people weighed in on the decision.

Saturday night before the Spurs faced the Grizzlies, it was Gregg Popovich’s turn.

And while he didn’t use very strong words when explaining his feelings about the punishment handed down to his organization, he came out against it nonetheless.

From the Associated Press:

Speaking publicly for the first time since NBA commissioner David Stern handed down the stiff penalty Friday, the Spurs coach and team president said he was “disappointed” in the decision.

“What I do from my perspective is from a coaching perspective,” said Popovich before the Spurs defeated the Grizzlies 99-95 in overtime on Saturday night. “And I think the league operates from a business perspective. And I think that’s reflective in the action that they took.”

Popovich bristled when asked before Saturday night’s game against Memphis whether he might nonetheless do the same thing, as the NBA’s reigning coach of the year often does when posed with hypothetical questions. But he didn’t rule it out, either.

“I don’t have a crystal ball,” Popovich said.

We can all put this behind us for the time being, now that Popovich has made his decision, and David Stern countered with one of his own.

And yes — the Spurs came from down 13 after three quarters to beat a very good Grizzlies team, largely on the strength of those bench players that got quite a bit of experience playing against Miami’s starters on Thursday, under the national spotlight.

What Popovich did by resting healthy players for that game in Miami was wrong from the league’s perspective, for a variety of reasons. But it’s hard to argue with the team-specific results achieved on Saturday, which may or may not have been due in part to that decision.

  1. fanofthegame79 - Dec 2, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    The reality is, the NBA (and yes, David Stern) didn’t want a marquee match up between two of the best teams in the league to rest their players 18 games in. It would have been a different story (IMO) if Popovich would have rested Ginobli and Duncan. But to rest Parker and Green too – younger players – was the reason he was fined. Pop thumbed his nose at the NBA and the league shot back. It’s what should have been done. Pop could have rested his players in Orlando, which was not nationally televised. The Spurs were the league example, and I bet you won’t see teams sitting multiple stars this early in the season again. Fine towards the end…not this soon into a new season.

  2. bucrightoff - Dec 2, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    Oh look, they rallied from 13 down in the 4th to win in overtime. I wonder if that extra rest helped at all (Duncan 27 and 15, Parker 30)

  3. money2long - Dec 2, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    coach pop said he doesn’t have a crystal ball in response to whether or not he would try to rest his healthy players in the same manner.

    however, word on the street is you had planned resting those guys in the miami game well before the season started. so the thing i’m driving at here is maybe there is a chance you surveyed the entire schedule already and maybe you do have an idea of when you may not play key players. so maybe you don’t need a crystal ball because perhaps, you have already made your decision like this past game in miami.

    point being, the reporter asked a valid question. no need to have a snark response. but maybe pop just doesn’t want to admit it just yet, which is fine from a competitive standpoint.

    • kanemoney - Dec 2, 2012 at 6:39 PM

      How – in any way – was his response snarky?

      5 game in 5 nights – great scheduling NBA.

  4. thenmoveback - Dec 2, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    And the fans were ‘disappointed’ in watching the Spurs back-ups.

  5. bleed4philly - Dec 2, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    I’m surprised Pop didn’t just use the injury report. Just say they all got the flu, it is flu season.

    • phaden27 - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:10 AM

      Watch Stern start making teams get doctors notes.
      Bahahaha.

  6. lemfaxx - Dec 2, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    Much better to rest and lose to miami and won to memphis than to beat the miami with complete stars and lose the next game. He doesn’t have the crystall ball but atleast he knows what is the best for his team. Only great & smart coach can do that…

  7. anarchopurplism - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    At the end of the day, its about $ driven from entertainment. NBA marketing strategy leads with superstar players. Fans want to see those star players (and a competitive game).

    You don’t care about your paying customers interests…..fine em. Its all about customer experience these days

  8. broadstbully - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    @money2long,

    I get what you’re saying. But getting fined a quarter mil for doing your job tends to change things, a bit.

  9. charlutes - Dec 2, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    Pop is right. usually the case.

  10. rayburns - Dec 2, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Make no mistake, this was all about Popovich showing up Stern on national television.

    It has nothing to do with who’s ‘right’.

  11. progress2011 - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    For my family of 3, it will cost approx $100 ($300) per person to attend one game (tickets, parking, one hot dog per person and one beer for me ) !

    If I spend my hard earned money, to be “ENTERTAINED”…..I don’t wanna see no friggin bench warmers, running around shooting bricks !

    Conversely, that’s equivalent to paying top dollar to see your favorite musician (Bono, Led Zeplin, Willie Nelson, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Snoop……whoever) and the promoters let the headliner take the night off, and roll out a contestant from American Idol.

    U’m gonna need my money back ……PERIOD !

    This is no different. Working Class folk pay good money to be “ENTERTAINED” ! Just gimme what I paid for !

    • rtfinch - Dec 3, 2012 at 8:23 AM

      You weren’t entertained by a 5 point game that came down to the wire with a 3 in the final 45 seconds to win? If that isnt entertaining enough for you, you probably shouldn’t attend anymore games.

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