Gregg Popovich told Duncan, Ginobili, Parker, and Green to go home and rest instead of traveling to Miami. David Stern, angry and embarrassed by the Spurs fielding their “B” team in a nationally televised game, has decided they should be punished for this decision.
Obviously Pop’s motivation was that he doesn’t think playing his stars 82 games in the regular season is a good idea. He wants them healthy and rested for the postseason. This is not a new thing – the Spurs rested key players in a number of games last year as well.
Meanwhile, a handful of NBA teams blatantly tank at the end of each season in hopes of a higher draft pick.
If Stern is so outraged about the Spurs decision to send their starters home for a day, why isn’t he irritated when some of the worse teams in the league tank for weeks or months at a time?
And here’s the kicker – with a starting lineup of Boris Diaw, Tiago Splitter, Matt Bonner, Nando de Colo, and Patty Mills, the Spurs almost won in Miami anyway! The Heat barely scraped out a 105-100 win after trailing in the final minute.
If David Stern wants to apologize to NBA fans for a sub-par product, what he should apologize for are the dozens of games in March and April every year contested between teams who both want to lose.